Culture

'Gawker' Files for Bankruptcy After Hogan Suit, Will Sell Itself

(Scott Keeler/The Tampa Bay Times via AP, Pool)

Feel-good story of the week.

Gawker Media filed for bankruptcy protection in a New York court on Friday, putting the troubled digital property up for auction.

The Wall Street Journal has reported that publisher Ziff Davis has already bid $100 million for Gawker, which lost a $140 million jury verdict in the Hulk Hogan trial that has since been upheld.

Filing for bankruptcy protection was largely expected once Gawker lost its previous bid to appeal that verdict. Investment bank Houlihan Loukey had already been helping Gawker founder and CEO Nick Denton explore his options for the digital publisher, which is also backed by Columbus Nova Technology Partners.

A sale of the company could help finance Gawker’s legal costs; Hogan had the benefit of backing from Silicon Valley mogul Peter Thiel, who has helped finance his legal effort, as was revealed last month.

Ziff Davis joins a list of other companies rumored to be kicking the tires on Gawker, including Univision and Vox. Variety parent company Penske Media Corporation has also been reported as a potential acquirer, but a spokesperson for the company denied that any such negotiations were ever held.

The Gawker folk have been trying to ruin the lives of people for years, and doing it all to get clicks and advertising revenue. I’ve had their trolls try to harass me a couple of times and even though it was relatively mild by Gawker standards, it was still annoying and unpleasant.

The company made an egregious error when it went after Peter Thiel. If you are going about the business of gleefully making enemies, make sure none of them are tech billionaires.

It will be interesting to see what another company does with the Gawker brand if the company is sold. It is obviously baggage-laden, but could serve as an online version of a fixer-upper house in the right hands.