Gawker Media’s time in limbo is almost over.
Univision is in position to acquire the embattled digital media company for $135 million, according to a report from Recode.
Gawker CEO and cofounder Nick Denton confirmed the news in a statement.
“Gawker Media Group has agreed this evening to sell our business and popular brands to Univision, one of Americas largest media companies that is rapidly assembling the leading digital media group for millennial and multicultural audiences,” Denton wrote. “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.”
Gawker was put up for auction after declaring bankruptcy, a move that it was forced into by the $140 million judgement related to its privacy lawsuit with Hulk Hogan.
The deal will still need to be finalized by the bankruptcy judge overseeing Gawker’s case. Assuming that happens (with how bizarre this case has been, anything is possible), the money would wait to go to whichever side wins the upcoming appeal which Gawker leadership has been openly confident they will win.
Univision has been one of the most active companies in acquiring digital media upstarts.
In addition to its homegrown operations including Flama, El Rey and Fusion (which had been a joint venture with Disney until Univision bought its partner out), Univision purchased The Onion and The Root. Univision’s digital side now operates under the Fusion umbrella.
The $135 million price tag is reportedly above what Denton had hoped for, but well below previous appraisals. The company as a whole had previously been valued at around $250 million, while comparable digital media companies have sold for far more. Axel Springer bought Business Insider in September 2015 for $442 million.
Ziff Davis, which owns IGN and Geek.com, had been one of the other bidders for Gawker Media, having put in an initial bid of $90 million.
Vivek Shah, Ziff Davis CEO, wrote in note to employees: “we decided to withdraw once we felt the price and terms exceeded our threshold.”
Sydney Ember (@melbournecoal) August 16, 2016