Gawker filing for bankruptcy protection after losing Hulk Hogan lawsuit
Gawker Media has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on the heels of being ordered to pay wrestling superstar Hulk Hogan a $140-million settlement for invasion of privacy.
The company is reportedly going to put itself on the market — something rumours have swirled about for weeks.
Citing an unnamed source with knowledge of the plan to sell, the New York Times reported at least one company, Ziff Davis, has put forward a bid between $90 million to $100 million.
According to documents filed Friday in New York, Gawker listed its estimated liabilities between $100 million and $500 million, but its assets were only estimated to be between $50 to $100 million. The documents were signed by Gawker founder Nick Denton.
A Florida jury sided with Hulk Hogan, whose real name is Terry Bollea, in March after he sued Gawker Media for posting a video in 2012 of him having sex with his then-best friend’s wife, Heather Clem. Hogan was first awarded $115 million in damages and later a further $25 million in punitive damages.
Hogan said he didn’t know he was being taped, in 2007, by his friend Bubba The Love Sponge Clem, a local Tampa DJ. During the Gawker trial, Hogan mournfully described how Clem betrayed his trust.
Hogan’s lawsuit against the media company was secretly backed by Silicon Valley businessman and PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel. Gawker revealed Thiel is gay in a 2007 article.
According to Forbes, Thiel paid Hogan’s estimated $10-million legal bills. Thiel, according to the AP, has a net worth estimated at more than $2.7 billion.
Following Friday’s bankruptcy protection filing, Gawker’s Denton directed his response at Thiel.
In a May 26 open letter, Denton said Thiel’s bankrolling of Hogan’s lawsuit was “vindictive.”
“Your revenge has been served well, cold and (until now) anonymously,” Denton wrote.
With files from The Associated Press
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