Controversial billionaire Peter Thiel might be looking to buy Gawker.com — the news site he helped Hulk Hogan take down
- BuzzFeed reports that lawyers for influential billionaire Peter Thiel are objecting to him being left out of the sale process for Gawker.com, indicating possible interest from Thiel to bid on the domain and its archive of articles.
- Peter Thiel financed wrestler Hulk Hogan's lawsuit against Gawker Media, eventually forcing it into a 2016 bankruptcy and a fire sale to Univision.
- If Thiel ends up being allowed to bid on Gawker.com and wins the auction, he would get the site's archives, branding, and social media accounts.
It looks like controversial billionaire Peter Thiel, a Facebook board member and Donald Trump's biggest supporter in Silicon Valley, might be interested in buying Gawker.com — the news site he helped force into bankruptcy.
In October 2017, the The Wall Street Journal reported that Gawker bankruptcy plan administrators were looking to sell the Gawker.com domain, and were searching for buyers.
The problem, it seems, is that Thiel's lawyers believe he's being unfairly excluded from the bidding process, and that the sale should be paused until the matter is resolved. This is according to a bankruptcy court filing made on Wednesday by Thiel's lawyers, which was reviewed by BuzzFeed News.
This objection would seem to signal that Thiel is interested in bidding on Gawker.com and its assets, which would include its archive of articles, its branding, and its social media accounts. Any potential owner would be free to delete the Gawker.com archives.
Representatives for Thiel and the Gawker bankruptcy plan administration did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Dirk Shadd/Tampa Bay Times via Reuters
Hulk Hogan, the wrestler whose real name is Terry Bollea, was awarded $140 million in damages in March 2016 stemming from a Gawker news article published in 2012 that included footage of him having sex. It was later revealed that Thiel had secretly financed the lawsuit and others against Gawker Media.
"I saw Gawker pioneer a unique and incredibly damaging way of getting attention by bullying people even when there was no connection with the public interest," Thiel, whom Gawker publicly outed as gay in 2007, told The New York Times in May 2016. In a speech, Thiel once described Gawker as a "singular, sociopathic bully."
To protect its assets from being collected by Hogan, Gawker filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Its assets were then sold to Univision in a government-ordered auction in August 2016, which bought them for $135 million.
Univision shut down operations of Gawker.com, the company's flagship site, but has continued to run its other properties, which consist of Gizmodo, Lifehacker, Deadspin, Jezebel, Kotaku, and Jalopnik. The Gawker archives remain available online.
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