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June 10, 2016, 1:01 p.m.
Business Models

Gawker Media has filed for bankruptcy and is putting itself up for sale (possibly to Ziff Davis)

Gawker Media has filed for bankruptcy, saying it cannot pay the $140 million awarded to Hulk Hogan in a lawsuit funded by Peter Thiel. The company is putting itself up for sale, with an offer already in from Ziff Davis.

Gawker Media filed for bankruptcy on Friday, after saying in Florida court that it cannot pay the $140.1 million awarded to actor Hulk Hogan in a case bankrolled by Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel. (The full filing, which is not juicy, is at the end of this post.)

Screen Shot 2016-06-10 at 1.54.42 PM

Filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy does not mean that Gawker Media is shutting down. Instead, it buys it time to negotiate with its creditors and come up with a plan to emerge from bankruptcy. In this case, the plan is to sell the company, which has remained independent for its entire 14 years. Ziff Davis (owner of distinctly un-Gawker-y publications like PCMag and Geek.com) has made a binding offer of $90 to $100 million, and the company expects to receive additional offers.

“We have been forced by this litigation to give up our longstanding independence, but our writers remain committed to telling the true stories that underpin credibility with our millions of readers,” Gawker Media Group founder Nick Denton said in a press release. “With stronger backing and disentangled from litigation, they can perform their vital work on more platforms and in different forms.”

In a company memo acquired by Recode, Ziff Davis CEO Vivek Shaw never mentioned Gawker’s flagship property Gawker.com:

In the event we become the acquirer, the additions of Gizmodo, Lifehacker and Kotaku would fortify our position in consumer tech and gaming. With the addition of Jalopnik, Deadspin and Jezebel, we would broaden our position as a lifestyle publisher. Much like us, GMG is heavily active in driving commerce-based revenues and has an impressive publishing and commerce platform with Kinja.

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.

The filing, with the U.S. Southern District of New York, is here. It was first noted by Reorg Research on Twitter (h/t Jake Grovum).

Gawker Bankruptcy Filing

Photo of Gawker’s Big Board by Scott Beale.

This post was updated several times on Friday.

POSTED     June 10, 2016, 1:01 p.m.
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