Gawker’s long-running bankruptcy is winding its way to a close with the possible sale of its final assets.
Didit Holdings on Tuesday offered up $1.13 million in cash for the defunct site’s remaining assets, including its eponymous media property and Gawker Hungary. Didit is a privately held marketing agency founded 22 years ago, but the holding company bidding on Gawker’s assets was only registered in January.
Kevin Lee, founder and chairman of Didit, said he’s looking to relaunch Gawker with a friendlier spin than its initial version under Nick Denton, which was so salacious and often biting of its subjects that venture capitalist Peter Thiel, whom Gawker in 2007 outed as gay, made it his mission to ruin the site. Earlier this month, Theil had to agree to not bid on or launch any further litigation against Gawker so the company could actually undertake a sale of its remaining assets.
Lee said he spoke with two former Gawker reporters about his bidding and they told him “as long as Theil doesn’t get it, we’re happy.”
As for the Gawker archives, which don’t exactly jive with his idea for a sweeter Gawker that operates on a “cause marketing” basis, whereby a portion of the ad proceeds for a given article go to the subject’s nonprofit of choice, Lee said Archive.org is set to negotiate its hosting of the work.
“I’ll feel much more comfortable with it ensconced there, but I’ll keep a copy, too,” Lee said. “I wouldn’t quite say the archives are sacred, but we understand that they’re an important part of journalistic history and don’t want to see them lost.”
But Didit’s bid is, for now, just a base price and other bidders could come up. Lee isn’t expecting anyone in particular, but said he could possibly go a bit higher than his current bid, if necessary. Too high, though, and he would need a strategic partner.
Even if the Gawker deal doesn’t work out in the end and someone else swoops in, Lee is still eager to nab an online publishing brand with a relatively well-known name to more fully launch his cause-marketing platform, which he says he invented and has been testing.
Lee said an investment banker in the media industry advised him to “not get my heart set on Gawker” and that surely, another title would come along. “Then Interview filed for bankruptcy.” Lee said he’d be interested in that title, too, should Gawker fall through.
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