Gawker sold to Univision for $135m to cover bankcruptcy costs
Gawker media has been sold to Univision for $135m (£103m), following its bankruptcy after publishing a pro-wrestler’s sex tape.
Gawker’s owner Nick Denton – who is openly gay – says he is “pleased” with the sale.
“I am pleased that our employees are protected and will continue their work under new ownership – disentangled from the legal campaign against the company,” he said in a statement.
“We could not have picked an acquirer more devoted to vibrant journalism.”
Univision is a US Spanish language broadcaster. The company beat rival bidder, Ziff Davis – which owns gaming magazines PC Magazine and IGN.
Gawker Media is comprised of a number of online blogs covering different topics: Jezebel (feminism), Deadspin (sports) and Gawker.com (celebrity gossip).
Univision’s offer falls short of the $140 million awarded to Hulk Hogan after a privacy lawsuit funded by tech boss Peter Thiel, who was outed by the website.
Hogan sued Gawker after excerpts of a sex tape featuring him and one of his friend’s wives, were published in 2012.
Thiel got involved and said he would fund the lawsuit in revenge against Gawker for its coverage of his sexuality back in 2007.
At the time Gawker ran a story suggesting ‘Peter Thiel, the smartest VC in the world, is gay’.
Thiel took revenge by secretly funding wrestler Hulk Hogan’s $140.1 million lawsuit against the company.
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He told the New York Times: “It’s less about revenge and more about specific deterrence… I saw Gawker pioneer a unique and incredibly damaging way of getting attention by bullying people even when there was no connection with the public interest.”
He added that funding the Hogan lawsuit was “one of my greater philanthropic things that I’ve done.”
Thiel confirmed to the New York Times that he had spent $10 million to support Hogan’s lawsuit, telling the New York Times: “I thought it was worth fighting back. [It’s] very painful and paralysing for people who were targeted.”
Following Hogan’s win, Denton announced a chapter 11 filing for bankruptcy protection.
The wrestler’s sex tape scandal was just one in a long list of controversial stories published on the website.
In July 2015 Gawker.com ‘outed’ a Condé Nast executive, a father of three, who was attempting to liase with a gay porn star.