Gawker Files For Bankruptcy As It Faces $140 Million Court Penalty – NPR

Nick Denton, seen here during his legal battle with Terry Bollea, aka Hulk Hogan, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protections for Gawker Media, the company he founded 13 years ago.i

Nick Denton, seen here during his legal battle with Terry Bollea, aka Hulk Hogan, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protections for Gawker Media, the company he founded 13 years ago.

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Nick Denton, seen here during his legal battle with Terry Bollea, aka Hulk Hogan, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protections for Gawker Media, the company he founded 13 years ago.

Nick Denton, seen here during his legal battle with Terry Bollea, aka Hulk Hogan, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protections for Gawker Media, the company he founded 13 years ago.

Getty Images

Gawker Media, the gossip and news company that lost a high-profile court case in which it was ordered to pay $140 million over a violation of Hulk Hogan’s privacy, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection from its creditors.

In addition to its eponymous website, Gawker operates several other popular sites, including Deadspin, Jezebel and Gizmodo. But reports out Friday suggest Gawker’s founder, Nick Denton, may be trying to find a buyer for the company.

Gawker filed bankruptcy papers with a court in the Southern District of New York Friday, claiming an estimated $50 million – $100 million in assets and between $100 million and $500 million in liabilities.

A massive chunk of those liabilities rests in a punishment levied on the company for making public a video in which professional wrestler Hulk Hogan was seen having sex with a woman who was married to a man who’s been called Hogan’s best friend.

That case was part of a pattern for the company, which has sought to bring previously unknown details about public figures into the public realm. After the ruling, it emerged that a wealthy businessman who’d previously been the subject of Gawker’s reporting had been backing Hogan’s case.

As NPR’s David Folkenflik reported yesterday:

“A Gawker site outed PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel as gay nine years ago and Thiel’s never forgotten. Financing Hogan’s lawsuit and several others, Thiel told The New York Times that backing the lawsuits against Gawker was an act of philanthropy. Commentators at The New York Times and The Washington Post said Thiel’s hidden assault on Gawker was an attack on the broader press.”

Denton has his own take on the circumstances. Here’s what he told David:

“It’s harder now for journalists to do stories about billionaires, like Peter Thiel, without having at the back of their minds the fear that maybe somebody deep-pocketed, you know, with unlimited resources is going to come after us and can my organization afford to defend me?”

According to the Recode website, Gawker and its founder, Nick Denton, are planning to sell the company:

“Gawker has told it employees it still plans to fight the Thiel/Hogan case and to operate its publishing business while it does so. But it is also now formally entertaining offers to buy the company and says it has a firm bid from publisher Ziff Davis to buy the entire operation for less than $100 million.”

The bankruptcy filing authorizes Gawker’s officers “to commence the process of marketing and selling the assets of the Company and its subsidiaries.”

NPR’s Alina Selyukh contributed to this report.

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