Univision to buy Gawker out of bankruptcy for $135 million

Wed Aug 17, 2016 5:13pm EDT
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By Jessica DiNapoli

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Univision Holdings Inc won a bankruptcy auction on Tuesday to acquire U.S. internet publisher Gawker Media LLC for $135 million, outbidding media company Ziff Davis LLC, which had made an initial offer of $90 million.

Univision's winning bid for Gawker, which will go before a U.S. bankruptcy judge on Thursday, shows how the U.S. Spanish-language broadcaster is seeking to expand its digital media properties and is not shying away from a news brand that has often courted controversy to build a cult readership.

Univision was the only challenger to Ziff Davis, whose stalking horse bid had set the floor for others in the auction.

An investment banker representing Gawker said in court last month that he had a list of 40 potential buyers he planned to market the company to.

Gawker founder Nick Denton said in a prepared statement that the company "could not have picked an acquirer more devoted to vibrant journalism."

"I am pleased that our employees are protected and will continue their work under new ownership - disentangled from the legal campaign against the company," he said.

Ziff Davis decided to withdraw once it "felt the price and terms exceeded [its] threshold," according to an internal memo from Chief Executive Vivek Shah. Univision offered no immediate comment.

Gawker sought bankruptcy in June after facing a $140 million court judgment following an invasion of privacy lawsuit from former professional wrestler Hulk Hogan over the publication of excerpts from a sex tape.   Continued...

File Photo: Nick Denton, founder of Gawker, talks with his legal team before Terry Bollea, also known as Hulk Hogan, testifies in court, in St Petersburg, Florida, United States, March 8, 2016.  REUTERS/John Pendygraft/Pool/File Photo