Univision wins auction to acquire Gawker Media

Univision has won the auction to acquire Gawker Media’s websites and business.

Recode broke the news, reporting the acquisition price was $135 million and would cover all seven of Gawker’s websites. The company’s founder Nick Denton confirmed the deal in an email to reporters:

Gawker Media Group has agreed this evening to sell our business and popular brands to Univision, one of America’s largest media companies that is rapidly assembling the leading digital media group for millennial and multicultural audiences. I am pleased that our employees are protected and will continue their work under new ownership — disentangled from the legal campaign against the company. We could not have picked an acquirer more devoted to vibrant journalism.

Best known for its Spanish-language TV network, Univision isn’t the most obvious acquirer, but it also owns Fusion and recently invested in The Onion. (Gawker, by the way, posted what were supposedly internal screenshots of some underwhelming traffic numbers at Fusion.)

The sale is the result of Gawker’s defeat in a lawsuit by Terry Bollea, a.k.a. wrestler Hulk Hogan, who sued the company after it published a clip of a sex tape featuring Hogan. Hogan’s lawsuit was bankrolled, in part, by venture capitalist Peter Thiel, who recently wrote an op-ed for The New York Times arguing that the case is about protecting privacy and gay rights.

A Florida jury sided with Hogan, awarding him $140 million. The company is appealing the decision, but the judge denied Gawker’s request to delay the payment. As a result, the company filed for bankruptcy in June and went up for auction.

Ziff Davis made a $90 million “stalking horse bid” that basically set the floor for the auction. Univision was reported to be the only other bidder — LittleThings also made a $10 million offer for Jezebel, but it was after the deadline.

The sale still need to be approved by a bankruptcy court judge.