Peter Thiel wins as Gawker files for bankruptcy

Steven Loeb · June 10, 2016 · Short URL:

Gawker Media sold its assets to Ziff Davis, will use the profits to appeal the Hulk Hogan ruling

Peter Thiel's years long vendetta against Gawker has finally born fruit, as the company officially filed for bankruptcy in New York on Friday.

The document for its petition to file for Chapter 11 was uncovered in a Tweet from Max Frumes, Senior Editor at Reorg Research.

Specifically, the company listed Terry Bollea, also known as Hulk Hogan, to whom the company lost a $130 million lawsuit, over the publishing of his sex tape, earlier this year. That is, by far, the biggest claim against the company; the next largest is $115,000 it owes to law firm Morrison Cohen, or about eight percent of what it supposed to pay Gawker.

Gawker, it should be noted, is currently appealing the decision in the Hogan case.

Where Thiel fits into all of this is that he had personally paid the legal expenses for Hulk Hogan, giving up around $10 million of his own money to the cause.

Specifically what really set him off was a piece published in 2007 entitled, "Peter Thiel is totally gay, people." Thiel does happen to be openly gay, but apparently was not out at the time, and it is obvious that he did not appreciate his personal life being put on display like that, considering that it took him a total of nine years to finally get retribution.

Thiel's role was not initially know, not even to Gawker, but was eventually uncovered by Forbes. Thiel eventually admitted what he had done to the New York Times last month.

"The way I’ve thought about this is that Gawker has been a singularly terrible bully. In a way, if I didn’t think Gawker was unique, I wouldn’t have done any of this. If the entire media was more or less like this, this would be like trying to boil the ocean," Thiel told the Times.

He even went to so far as to call going after Gawker “one of my greater philanthropic things that I’ve done."

Thiel's actions set off a firestorm of controversy, with many, though not all, taking umbrage with the idea of a billionaire using his personal wealth to take down a media site that he has a personal grudge against. Even WaPo owner Jeff Bezos told Thiel that he should be spending his time in more contstructive ways.

As for the future of Gawker Media, which also owns websites Deadspin, Lifehacker, Gizmodo, Kotaku, Jalopnik, and Jezebel, the company will be auctioned off, according to the Wall Street Journal, with an opening bid of $100 million.

Gawker Media had net revenue of $44 million in 2014 and was said to be worth $250 million

VatorNews reached out to Thiel for comment. We will update this story if we learn more. 


Gawker Media Group confirmed the bankruptcy proceedings in a press release on Friday, and also announced that it has entered into an asset purchase agreement to sell its seven media brands and other assets to Ziff Davis, a global digital media company that's a subsidiary of j2 Global.

The company made it clear that both the bankrupcty filing, and the sale to Ziff Davis, are being put in place to ensure the survival of Gawker going forward.

"The sale and filing are intended to preserve the value of GMG’s pioneering digital news business, safeguard the jobs of journalists and other staff, and allow GMG to fund the appeal against the $130 million judgment in the Hulk Hogan case against the company in a Florida state court," it says in the release.

"The protection afforded by the bankruptcy filing will allow GMG to exercise its rights to due process. The company is confident it will ultimately prevail in the Hogan lawsuit, but was not able today to obtain from the trial court even a brief stay without onerous conditions to seek relief from the appeals court."

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