It was reported earlier this week that Univision had put forward a winning bid of $135 million to acquire Gawker Media. But it seems there’s one of the seven Gawker properties the US Spanish-language broadcaster doesn’t want: flagship Gawker.com. As such, the 14-year-old site will shut down next week.
A bankruptcy judge approved Univision’s bid yesterday. Six of Gawker Media’s sites - Gizmodo, Kotaku, Lifehacker, Deadspin, Jalopnik, and Jezebel – will be folded into Univision's Fusion Media group, but it will not be taking on Gawker.com.
"We have not been able to find a single media company or investor willing also to take on Gawker.com," wrote Gawker founder Nick Denton. "The campaign being mounted against its editorial ethos and former writers has made it too risky. I can understand the caution."
Gawker.com won’t completely disappear from the web. Its archives will remain accessible, though the last postings will appear on Monday. But while its operations will soon be coming to an end, Denton didn’t rule out a future return for the site.
"For the moment, however, it will be mothballed, until the smoke clears and a new owner can be found," he said.
Univision has agreed to take on 95 percent of Gawker Media’s current employees. It’s assumed that some of those working for Gawker.com will move to one of the six other sites or another Univision property.
Denton said he will be leaving the business once the deal is complete. “I will move on to other projects, working to make the web a forum for the open exchange of ideas and information, but out of the news and gossip business.”
Gawker.com’s closure marks a victory for Terry Bollea, aka Hulk Hogan, whose successful $140 million privacy lawsuit, partly funded by Peter Thiel, led to the company’s bankruptcy.