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Univision Buys Gawker for $135 Million

Tuesday, 16 Aug 2016 07:02 PM

By Gene Maddaus

LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - Univision won the bidding for Gawker Media on Tuesday, agreeing to pay $135 million for the bankrupt digital publisher.

The deal ends Gawker's 14-year run as an independent company. Univision was one of only two reported bidders for the company. The other was Ziff Davis, which put in a $90 million bid in June.

A bankruptcy judge must still approve the sale. Gawker was forced to declare bankruptcy in June, after wrestler Hulk Hogan won a $140 million judgment against it in a Florida court for violating his privacy. Gawker has appealed the case, but did not have the resources to keep fighting on its own. Nick Denton, Gawker's founder, has also filed for personal bankruptcy.

Denton preferred Ziff Davis' bid, and would have stayed on as a consultant had Ziff Davis succeeded in the auction. The $135 million sale price is, however, more than Denton might have expected to get for the company.

Univision has been buying up digital brands recently, including the Root and the Onion. It also launched Fusion, its own TV network and digital publisher.

Mark Patricof, the banker handling the bankruptcy auction, confirmed the deal to Recode.

"The outcome exceeded our expectations. Both parties put in an awful lot of work, and Ziff Davis deserves credit for their effort," Patricof told the site. "But ultimately Univision prevailed, and both sides are happy with the outcome."

In an email to CNN, Denton said that the sale ensures that Gawker will live on.

"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," he told CNN. "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."

© 2017 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

 
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