Gawker Media has a new home. The company's bankruptcy auction has ended, and the winning bidder is reportedly Univision.
The previously independent digital media company filed for bankruptcy protection earlier this year in order to avoid paying $140 million in damages to Hulk Hogan the ex-pro wrestler — his real name is Terry G. Bollea — whose sex tape Gawker published in 2013. In May, it was revealed that Hogan's lawsuit against Gawker (among others) was financed by tech billionaire Peter Thiel. Thiel has held a decade-long vendetta against the company, which he claims outed him as gay in 2007.
In an internal statement obtained by VICE News, Gawker founder and CEO Nick Denton called the auction's result "a rearguard action for the ages."
"I am pleased that our employees are protected and will continue their work under new ownership — disentangled from the legal campaign against the company," Denton said. "We could not have picked an acquirer more devoted to vibrant journalism."
During the auction, Univision was competing against consumer and trade magazine publisher Ziff Davis, which made what is called a "stalking horse" bid of about $100 million for Gawker when the company initially filed for bankruptcy protection.
For Univision, the $135 million acquisition of Gawker is the latest in a series of deals aimed at making the Latino-focused TV broadcast network more of a player in digital media. Earlier this year, Univision paid for a 40 percent stake in the humor website network The Onion, and in April the company bought out Disney's stake in their joint venture Fusion, a hybrid digital-cable news network for millennials.
For now, it remains unclear how Gawker Media will fit within Univision's corporate structure, and how Gawker's seven different websites — including technology-focused Gizmodo, sports blog Deadspin, and women's interest site Jezebel — will be affected by the deal.A representative for Gawker Media could not be immediately reached for comment.