Univision Holdings Inc won a bankruptcy auction on Tuesday to acquire U.S. internet publisher Gawker Media LLC for $135 million, outbidding media company Ziff Davis LLC, which had made an initial offer of $90 million.
Univision’s offer will encompass all seven of Gawker Media’s sites, including Gawker.com
“I am pleased that our employees are protected and will continue their work under new ownership – disentangled from the legal campaign against the company,” Gawker founder Nick Denton said in a statement. “We could not have picked an acquirer more devoted to vibrant journalism.”
For Univision, best known as the largest Spanish-language broadcaster in the US, the Gawker purchase may signal a more aggressive digital strategy. The company is already the sole owner of the tech-centric Fusion and last year bought The Root, an online news and culture site for African Americans. It also owns a minority stake in The Onion. Gawker would dramatically expand the editorial range of Univision’s web presence as well as its audience.
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.