After 14 years, Gawker, the influential and sharp-elbowed flagship site of Gawker Media, is shutting down. The news comes after the purchase of Gawker Media by Univision at a court-supervised auction on Tuesday. From Gawker:
Nick Denton, the company’s outgoing CEO, informed current staffers of the site’s fate on Thursday afternoon, just hours before a bankruptcy court in Manhattan will decide whether to approve Univision’s bid for Gawker Media’s other assets. The near-term plans for Gawker.com’s coverage, as well as the site’s archives, have not yet been finalized.
Two months ago, Gawker Media filed for bankruptcy after a $140 million dollar judgement against the company in an invasion of privacy lawsuit by wrestling star Hulk Hogan that was secretly bankrolled by Silicon Valley entrepreneur Peter Thiel. The purchase of Gawker Media in Tuesday’s auction had left the fate of Gawker itself uncertain, as Gawker’s J.K. Trotter wrote in a post on the site:
Recode’s Peter Kafka reported yesterday that Univision’s final and successful offer shall “encompass all seven of Gawker Media’s sites, including Gawker.com,” but following his report, Gawker.com staffers were told that Univision has not yet decided whether the company will take Gawker Media’s namesake website under its wing. Both Lloyd Grove of The Daily Beast and Sydney Ember of the New York Times later noted that the future of Gawker.com remains an open question.
While Gawker.com was included in Univision’s winning bid, the proposed acquisition agreement gives Univision the option to transfer Gawker.com back to the bankrupt Gawker Media LLC prior to the deal’s closing in September. Alternatively, Univision could choose to acquire Gawker.com’s assets but decide not to operate it.
Trotter went on to write that Univision had committed to finding positions for Gawker staffers at other Univision properties, which include Fusion and the Onion, as well as at Gawker Media’s other sites, which include sports site Deadspin, the video game site Kotaku, and Jezebel, a site focused on women.