Univision acquires bankrupt Gawker Media for $135m

Sale comes two months after Gawker filed for bankruptcy following Hulk Hogan case loss

Gawker Media, whose fierce independence afforded it an unsparing approach to web journalism that influenced news organizations across the internet and the wider media world, was sold to Univision at auction, giving the freewheeling media company an outside owner for the first time since it was founded 14 years ago.

Univision bid $135 million (€120 million) to beat out the digital media publisher Ziff Davis, according to three people with direct knowledge of the deal who spoke on condition of anonymity because the price had not been made public. A bankruptcy judge is to officially approve the sale at a hearing later this week.

Chapter 11

The sale came two months after Gawker filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, a concession to the financial pressure the company faces from a $140 million legal judgment in an invasion-of-privacy lawsuit by the former professional wrestler Hulk Hogan, whose real name is Terry G Bollea.

Making matters worse for Gawker was Peter Thiel, the billionaire Silicon Valley entrepreneur, who acknowledged after the Hogan trial that he had funded the lawsuit and was providing financial support for other legal cases against the company.


Univision will not assume the $140 million judgment. Univision, best known for its Spanish-language television network, has recently moved aggressively to expand its online portfolio, and adding Gawker's sites fits with its plans to extend its reach beyond Spanish-speaking viewers. Univision bought a large stake in the Onion this year and acquired full control of Fusion, the news site and cable channel that it started with the Walt Disney in 2013. Univision also owns other digital media companies, including the Root, a website focused on African-American issues.

In a statement, Nick Denton, Gawker's founder and chief executive, said: "I am pleased that our employees are protected and will continue their work under new ownership disentangled from the legal campaign against the company. We could not have picked an acquirer more devoted to vibrant journalism."

Univision declined to comment. – (Reuters)