News site Gawker.com to shut down next week

Nick Denton founder of Gawker MediaImage copyright
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Nick Denton founded Gawker Media 14 years ago

The news site Gawker.com will shut down next week, just days after it was purchased by Univision.

In a post on its website, Gawker founder Nick Denton said he had told staff on Thursday afternoon.

Media firm Univision agreed to buy parent company, Gawker Media, for $135m (£103m) at a bankruptcy auction.

Gawker filed for bankruptcy after losing a $140m privacy lawsuit brought by former wrestler Hulk Hogan, paid for by Paypal co-founder Peter Thiel.

Mr Thiel funded Mr Hogan’s case saying he wanted to curb the company’s “bullying”, after the site published an article that outed him as gay.

Founded 14 years ago, Gawker is known for its no-holds-bar approach to reporting, including breaking gossip stories on high-powered celebrities and business leaders.

Univision is most commonly known in the US as the country’s biggest Spanish-language media company. It also owns a 40% stake in the satirical website The Onion.

‘Losing Gawker.com hurts’

Mr Denton said he was “pleased” with the Univision deal when it was announced.

“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,” he said in a statement.

Mr Denton himself will be leaving to leave the company.

The announcement of Gawker.com’s closure came hours before a US bankruptcy court was set to approve Univision’s purchase of Gawker Media, which owns seven websites in total.

They are: Gawker.com, Deadspin, Lifehacker, Gizmodo, Kotaku, Jalopnik, and Jezebel.

The post said plans for future coverage and the Gawker.com website’s archives had not yet been finalised.

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Twitter

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Twitter

Gawker employees took to Twitter to express their sadness about the decision to shut down the sites.

“Our other sites, including Kotaku, live on, but losing the vibrant Gawker.com hurts,” tweeted Stephen Totilo, editor-in-chief of Kotaku.

Bobby Finger, a staff writer for Jezabel, tweeted, “I’m one of countless people who owes Gawker so, so, so much.”

Another staff writer, Jordan Sargent, wrote: “Gawker is dead because Peter Thiel (w the help of Charles harder) has succeeded in creating a world where owning gawker is simply not viable.”

Former Gawker reporter Sam Biddle wrote simply, “I am heartbroken”.

Financial trouble

Earlier this year Gawker was sued by Hulk Hogan, whose real name is Terry Bollea, after the website published a video of Mr Hogan having sex with the wife of a friend from 2007.

A three-week trial ended with the jury ruling in the former wrestler’s favour and ordering Gawker to pay $115m in compensation and $25m in punitive damage.

Gawker asked the judge for a new trial, but that request was rejected. Many experts though expect that the original verdict will be overturned on appeal.



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