Vizio tries to go public, five years after its messy first attempt

Its last attempt was hampered by a Chinese media giant and alleged fraud.

Vizio filed for an IPO for the second time this week, and its S-1 — the sprawling document all companies have to file with the Securities and Exchange Commission — is definitely worth reading if you’re a fan of financials or the TV industry at large.

I say that because it offers a pretty granular look at the company’s business — we now know, for example, that Vizio has sold over 80 million TVs since it was founded in 2002, including just over 7 million last year. But it’s also worth a look because what has to be the best introduction to any of these documents I’ve ever seen, in which founder and CEO William Wang briefly tells the story of surviving a plane crash into a construction site.

He said that “finally getting home” after that ordeal was one of the best moments of his life, and that from that relief and comfort, Vizio was born. In a way, it isn’t a stretch to think that trying moments are key to the company’s work — the whole thing was born in the aftermath of a terrible accident, and Vizio spent years taking on massive competitors like Samsung and LG. With that in mind, it only seems appropriate to take a look at the many trying moments that followed the last time Vizio filed for an IPO.