Tags: gawker | sell | hulk hogan | nick denton

Gawker Media Said Looking at Possible Sale of Company

Gawker Media Said Looking at Possible Sale of Company
Gawker Media Founder Nick Denton (AP Photo/Steve Nesius)

By    |   Thursday, 26 May 2016 11:32 AM

Gawker Media's Nick Denton reportedly is considering selling his company and has hired a media banker to explore all options for the digital media publisher, embroiled in a legal war with entertainer and professional wrestler Hulk Hogan.

The digital publisher has hired banker Mark Patricof of Houlihan Lokey as it reviews its options, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Denton wants Patricof "to advise him on the valuation of the cash-hungry company in the event that he needs to sell it to pay damages to Hulk Hogan," who was awarded $140 million by a Florida jury after Gawker posted a sex video of the wrestling legend, sources told the New York Post.

At least one unnamed party has expressed interest, with a deal valued at between $50 million and $70 million, sources told the Post.

Denton owns a 68 percent stake in Gawker after bringing in his first outside investor earlier this year. He sold a minority stake for $100 million to technology firm Columbus Nova Technology Partners, injecting some much-needed cash as the company fought the Hogan suit.

"The value of the business was pegged at $250 million around the time of that deal, but that number has since sunk," sources told the Post.

During the Hogan trial, it emerged that Gawker’s annual revenue was $48.7 million in 2015. The initial bid came in at one to 1.5 times revenue.

The Post explained that one possible bidder is Univision. The newspaper reported last month that the Spanish-language media giant was eyeing Gawker and had discussed partnering or investing in Denton’s company.

"We've always said we expect to prevail on appeal and we've always said we're exploring contingency plans of various sorts so that's not new," Gawker told CNBC.

Hogan has had a powerful financial partner in his corner bankrolling his legal battles against Gawker Media: PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, who almost 10 years ago was "outed" as a homosexual by one of the controversial company's websites.

According to persons briefed on the arrangement, speaking on the condition of anonymity to Forbes, which first reported the partnership, Thiel, agreed to help pay an undisclosed amount to bankroll for the legal team of Terry Gene Bollea, better known as Hogan.

Thiel, now open about his sexual orientation, has not commented about the Forbes report, but has had a long history of issues with Gawker, reports The New York Times, including once describing company-owned website Valleywag, a Silicon Valley gossip site that quit publishing new posts in 2015, as being the "Silicon Valley equivalent of al-Qaida."

Valleywag, where the story about Thiel was published, has since been absorbed into Gawker's overall website.

The details of Thiel's bankroll arrangement with the retired wrestling champion have been protected by a confidentiality agreement, reports The Times. Meanwhile, a Florida jury in March awarded Hogan $140 million over the sex tape Gawker put online in 2012.

Gawker is appealing the jury's decision, and Denton told The New York Times that he has believed for some time that Hogan had someone bankrolling his court battles, and that the party was linked to Silicon Valley.

(Newsmax wire services contributed to this report).

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Gawker Media founder Nick Denton has begun quietly soliciting bids for the sale of his company.
gawker, sell, hulk hogan, nick denton
Thursday, 26 May 2016 11:32 AM
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