August 25, 2016

Univision Makes Winning Bid For Gawker At Bankruptcy Auction

WIRED Magazine

By Davey Alba (August 16, 2016)

UNIVISION IS BUYING Gawker Media. The television network and web publisher reportedly placed a winning bid of $135 million to purchase Gawker, which declared bankruptcy after losing an invasion-of-privacy lawsuit to former pro wrestler Hulk Hogan. A federal bankruptcy court judge is set to approve the final sale Thursday.

Univision beat out publisher Ziff Davis, which started the bidding at $90 million, in a bankruptcy auction today. (Last year, ahead of the Hogan trial, Gawker Media founder Nick Denton pegged his company’s worth to be in the $250 million to $300 million range.) It will acquire Gawker’s entire portfolio of seven sites, which cover everything from cars and sports to feminism and Silicon Valley. But Univision may or may not keep Gawker Media running in its current form. It could wind down the flagship site, which posted the Hogan sex video that resulted in the suit. It could also sell certain sites off piecemeal to an interested buyer. New York-based web publisher LittleThings has already expressed interest in buying feminist-focused Jezebel for $10 million, though it’s unclear for now whether that offer is under consideration.

With the sale, Gawker effectively stays the court’s $140 million verdict while transferring its most valuable asset—its editorial operation—to a new owner during the appeals process. (Denton has also filed for personal bankruptcy to keep Hogan from seizing his own assets.) “This gives (Gawker) the breathing room to find out whether or not the court’s judgment will withstand the company’s appeal,” says Michael Fay, a bankruptcy lawyer with Berg & Androphy, who is not involved in the case.

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