Gawker Media’s Nick Denton listens to testimony during Hulk Hogan’s lawsuit trial against Gawker on March 9, 2016, in St. Petersburg, Florida.
AP Photo/Steve Nesius, Pool
Univision will buy Gawker Media for $135 million, Gawker confirmed to Business Insider, as first reported by Recode’s Peter Kafka on Tuesday.
“I am pleased that our employees are protected and will continue their work under new ownership — disentangled from the legal campaign against the company,” Gawker founder Nick Denton said in a statement. “We could not have picked an acquirer more devoted to vibrant journalism.”
Univision’s purchase of bankrupt Gawker follows a two-way bidding battle between Univision and Ziff Davis, which originally opened the auction with a bid of $90 million. Univision and Ziff Davis were the only two companies that put in a bid for Gawker, according to the New York Post.
That is far less than the 40 potential buyers that an investment banker representing Gawker planned to market the company to, Reuters reports.
Even though Univision has the winning bid, Kafka reports that the purchase “won’t be official for a bit.” The Univision deal will require approval from a US bankruptcy-court judge.
It will also be interesting to see how Gawker fits into Univision, whose new media enterprise, Fusion, Gawker has ruthlessly taunted for its low traffic.
The sale to Univision doesn’t mean that Gawker’s appeals process on the $140 million verdict won by Hulk Hogan will stop, however. Denton, who was forced to file personal bankruptcy because of the case, has been vocal about Gawker’s plans to appeal — using the funds set aside from the sale.
In June, Gawker Media filed for Chapter 11 in a move that allowed it to avoid having its assets seized while it continued to appeal the verdict. That meant Gawker had to be put up for auction. It continued to publish, pay its staff, and appeal in the meantime.
Now we know that Gawker’s new owner will be Univision.
The money Gawker gets from the auction will go into a fund that will be used for future legal costs and any eventual damages, according to The Wall Street Journal. If any money is left after the litigation concludes — i.e., if Gawker wins — then it will go to Denton as well as Gawker’s investors.
But Denton, and Gawker’s other investors, won’t get Gawker’s properties back if they win. They will get the money minus legal expenses. There is the possibility that Denton could buy certain Gawker assets back from Univision, if he wanted to and Univision agreed. But that all would rest on Gawker winning in court.
Tristan Fewings/Getty Images
Hogan, whose real name is Terry Bollea, was awarded $140 million in damages in March stemming from a Gawker news article published in 2012 that included a clip of him having sex.
It was revealed in late May that billionaire Silicon Valley investor Peter Thiel had secretly financed the lawsuit and others against Gawker Media to try to put the website out of business.
“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,” Thiel, whom Gawker publicly outed as gay in 2007, told The New York Times.
Gawker Media was handed a legal loss in May when a judge in Florida denied Gawker’s motion for a new trial. That meant the damages would not be reduced. The judge also denied Gawker’s request for a stay. This led to Gawker’s decision to file for bankruptcy.
Page Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/
By Steven Tweedie and Nathan McAlone