Late Tuesday, Univision won the auction to buy Denton’s bankrupt media company for $135 million. While the deal won’t be official until a U.S. bankruptcy court judge signs off, it gives Univision all seven of Gawker’s sites, including Gawker.com, Deadspin.com and Gizmodo.com.
When Denton filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy court protection in June, digital media firm Ziff Davis had emerged as the stalking horse bidder with an offer of $90 million. Since then, there have been rumbles of potential suitors showing interest, such as Vox Media and WWD parent company Penske Media Corp. But Univision, the Spanish-language television network and digital media company, which owns Fusion and several other properties, was the only other firm to put down a sizable bid for Denton’s Gawker.
“Gawker Media Group has agreed this evening to sell our business and popular brands to Univision, one of America’s largest media companies that is rapidly assembling the leading digital media group for Millennial and multicultural audiences,” Denton 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.”
No word yet on what the new owner plans to do with Gawker Media — or Denton for that matter.
The embattled media company, which was founded in 2002, has been in the news for more than a year, thanks to a well-publicized trial against Terry Bollea aka Hulk Hogan. Bollea sued Gawker after it posted a clip of Bollea having sex with a friend’s then-wife in 2012. In court, Bollea claimed the video was taken without his knowledge. After a two-week trial, a Florida state jury found that Gawker, in publishing the video, had violated the plaintiff’s right to privacy.