Gawker files Chapter 11, announces purchase agreement with Ziff Davis

Gawker founder Nick Denton: ' Our sites will thrive under new ownership, and we'll win in court.'


After a ruling deemed that Gawker Media must pay Terry "Hulk Hogan" Bollea $140 million for violating his privacy by releasing a short clip of a sex tape featuring Hogan, Gawker Media Group has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The filing will grant GMG protection from creditors.

A number of outlets operate within the Gawker fold, including Gizmodo, Kotaku, and Jezebel. These and other Gawker sites have sought to bring to light details about celebrities and other public figures as part of their quest to fulfill journalist obligations. Some figures, such as billionaire Peter Thiel, have felt Gawker went too far in some instances.

Thiel, a co-founder of PayPal, was outed by a Gawker site as homosexual several years ago. Thiel considered the outing a violation of his right to privacy; since then he has helped bankroll Hulk Hogan's and other lawsuits against the media conglomerate, telling The New York Times that he considers fighting Gawker a philanthropic endeavor.

Gawker founder Nick Denton has no intention of going down without a fight. Hot on the heels of the announcement that his company has filed for Chapter 11, Gawker revealed that it has entered into an agreement to sell its media properties to Ziff Davis Media. Kotaku, Lifehacker, Gizmodo, Jezebel, Jalopnik, Deadspin, and Gawker will make the transition.

"Even with his billions, Thiel will not silence our writers. Our sites will thrive — under new ownership — and we'll win in court," Denton said on Twitter.

Image: Gawker founder Nick Denton. (Courtesy of ABC News.)

Ziff CEO Vivek Shah issued a statement explaining why he took an interest in GMG and what will happen next. "Ziff Davis has entered into an asset purchase agreement to acquire all of these properties (free of GMG's liabilities), subject to the outcome of a Court-supervised auction. Under the Chapter 11 process, the Bankruptcy Court will soon set a schedule for other potential bidders to enter the sale process. There will then be an auction, which will likely take place at the end of July."

Assuming Ziff Davis acquires the properties through the auction, Shah believes adding outlets like Gizmodo and Kotaku will strengthen the conglomerate's position as a go-to source for tech information. "As you can see, there’s a tremendous fit between the two organizations, from brands to audience to monetization. We look forward to the possibility of adding these great brands – and the talented people who support them – to the Ziff Davis family."

Sources: NPRRecode

Long Reads Editor

David L. Craddock writes fiction, nonfiction, and grocery lists. He is the author of the Stay Awhile and Listen series, and the Gairden Chronicles series of fantasy novels for young adults. Outside of writing, he enjoys playing Mario, Zelda, and Dark Souls games, and will be happy to discuss at length the myriad reasons why Dark Souls 2 is the best in the series. Follow him online at and @davidlcraddock.

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