Univision Communications Inc.
The now Vince Sadusky run Univision may be trying to trim costs and staff to stay competitive, but the purchase and possible sale of The Onion could result in a whole new set of tears for the Spanish-language media company.
That would be at least $2 million dollars worth of tears to be specific in a lawsuit filed against Univision and the news satire outlet late last week by financial specialists GCA Advisors
“As a direct and proximate result of The Onions breach of the Agreement, Plaintiff has suffered damages, in an amount to be determined at trial, but not less than $2,000,000, and prejudgment interest,” said attorneys at Liddle & Robinson LLP in an August 10 jury trial seeking filing in New York Supreme Court against Univision Communications and The Onion.
Essentially, GCA, who were formally called GCA Savvian Advisors, LLC, say they were brought on board by The Onion in October 2013 to help out with potential sale. Among other things, the deal the parties struck ensured that GCA would receive a self described “base fee” of the said $2 million if a sale occurred “during the term of this agreement or at any time within 12 months after the effective date of termination of this agreement, a Transaction is consummated” (read it here).
No deal went down over almost two years and the parties went their separate ways in early April 2015.
Yet, in January 2016, well within that previously mentioned 12 months, the then Randy Falco run Univision picked up an almost controlling stake in The Onion for just over $27 million. “Comedy is playing an expanding role in our culture as a vehicle for audiences to explore, debate and understand the important ideas of our time,” said Univisions chief news and digital exec Isaac Lee optimistically at the time.
Now, even as Univision is exploring how to perhaps unload The Onion and the former Gawker properties it has in Gizmodo Media Group, here is where it gets a little messy – at least according to GCA.
“Upon information and belief, Defendant Univision knowingly and intentionally caused Defendant The Onion to breach its contractual obligations under the Agreement by entering into an agreement to pay the Transaction Fee due Plaintiff GCA to a third party,” the San Fran-based financial advisors claim in their tortious interference action in the Empire State. The five page suit claims “despite repeated written demands, Defendants The Onion and Univision have refused to pay Plaintiff the Transaction Fee required by the Agreement.”
Univision did not respond to request for comment by Deadline on the legal action. However, they have to respond to GCAs summons within 20 to 30 days or “judgment will be taken against you by default for the relief demanded in the Complaint.”
And thats not going to funny.