Gawker Media filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Friday, just months after pro wrestler Hulk Hogan was awarded about $140 million in damages from the company in his invasion of privacy suit.
The sometimes controversial company, founded by gay entrepreneur Nick Denton, has put its assets up for sale, reports USA Today. Ziff Davis, the publisher of PCMag, has put in a bid to buy the company’s assets for around $90 to $100 million, reports Politico.
Ziff Davis wants to buy Gawker Media's blogs but not assume its liabilities, reports USA Today. All Gawker Media blogs are expected to continue their daily operations. Jezebel, Gawker Media's women’s site, wrote a post saying, “We’ll continue blogging here every day with the same, excellent staff, and we hope you’ll continue reading and commenting here every day.”
In a memo obtained by USA Today, Ziff Davis CEO Vivek Shah wrote, "There’s a tremendous fit between the two organizations.” USA Today reports that Gawker Media listed its estimated assets at $50 million to $100 million and liabilities of $100 million to $500 million in its filing with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York.
Denton previously implied that the to the possibility that Hogan case might cause financial problems for the company. A year ago, while the suit was still pending, he told The New York Times, "We don’t keep $100 million in the bank."
The wrestler sued the media company after its flagship site, Gawker, published a video in 2012 of him having sex with his best friend’s wife. It was revealed in May that Hogan’s lawsuit was funded by Peter Thiel, a Silicon Valley billionaire and the cofounder of PayPal. Thiel reportedly had a vendetta against Gawker Media because he was outed as gay by Valleywag, the company's Silicon Valley news and gossip site.
Tnat wasn't the only instance of outing by a Gawker Media site. The company was criticized in 2015 for a Gawker story that outed a Conde Nast executive who was allegedly being blackmailed by a porn star. Gawker published a story that included screen shots of texts between the two men and identified the Conde Nast exec by name, but it was eventually taken down after a strong backlash from readers and media commentators who criticized the blog for outing a private citizen.
Glenn Greenwald, the out Intercept journalist, tweeted at the time, "I'm a fan of Gawker & several of its journalists, but that article is reprehensible beyond belief: it's deranged to publish that."