Univision is adding another big name to its stable of media properties after winning a bidding war over Gawker Media on Tuesday in a $135 million auction.
The Spanish-language television and news organization outbid competitor Ziff Davis, which owns mostly consumer tech sites, for ownership of Gawker Media, whose brands include its flagship gossip-turned-political site of the same name, as well as the sports site Deadspin and the women-focused Jezebel.
Gawker Media owner Nick Denton applauded the deal that he says allows Univision to assemble “the leading digital media group for millennial and multicultural audiences.”
Univision also has a stake in The Onion, a satire site, and acquired The Root, which is geared toward African-Americans, in 2015. It recently took full ownership of Fusion, a network and website launched with Disney to court millennials.
Gawker has been in a rebranding phase after the fallout from a lawsuit filed by Hulk Hogan, who claimed the company violated his privacy in 2012 when it published a sex tape of him and the wife of a radio shock jock.
Gawker lost a $140 million court judgment to the wrestler, and in June, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, prompting the sale.
A U.S. bankruptcy court judge, meanwhile, would need to approve the auction transaction, reported Recode. The money from the sale would go to whoever prevails in Gawker’s appeal of the Hogan case.
“I am pleased that our employees are protected and will continue their work under new ownership — disentangled from the legal campaign against the company,” Denton said in a statement. “We could not have picked an acquirer more devoted to vibrant journalism.”
by Erik Ortiz