Univision Offers to Buy Gawker Media for $135 Million at Bankruptcy Auction

by San Antonio Attorney

Univision, an American Spanish television network, reportedly offered $135 million to buy Gawker, which lost in a privacy invasion case filed by Hulk Hogan and then filed for bankruptcy.  The winning bid against Ziff Davis, which offered $90 million, is subject for a federal bankruptcy court’s approval on Aug.  19.

Univision will be the new owner of Gawker’s seven sites, which range from Silicon Valley and feminism to sports and cars.  It is still uncertain if Univision will continue to run Gawker Media as is.  There is a possibility that the Gawker.com website could wind down.  Some websites may also be sold off piece by piece to an interested purchaser.  Web publisher LittleThings showed interest in acquiring the Jezebel website for $10 million, even though it is not clear at present if that proposal is being considered.

With Gawker’s auction, the company in effect stays the $140 million court verdict as it transfers its very valuable feature—the editorial operation—to a buyer throughout the appeals proceeding.  (Gawker founder Nick Denton has also sought for bankruptcy protection to prevent Hogan from taking his personal assets.)

For Univision, the acquisition of Gawker may indicate a more forceful digital strategy.  It is already the exclusive operator of the Fusion and The Root.  In addition, it has a minority share in The Onion.  Univision’s presence in the Internet would expand greatly owing to Gawker’s 100 million readers per month.

For Gawker, for the meantime, the auction is the finale of a cruel legal battle pursued against it by billionaire Peter Thiel, who wanted to close the company for what he explained as its irresponsible motivation to make money from clickbait that bullied people.  The venture capitalist clandestinely financed Hogan’s lawsuit but has now candidly defended his endeavor even as detractors have called him out for trying to subvert a free press.

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