- REUTERS/Tampa Bay Times/John Pendygraft
Gawker Media is “exploring strategic options, including potential sale,” as the company continues its legal battle with former pro wrestler Hulk Hogan, according to The Wall Street Journal’s Steven Perlberg.
This news follows an earlier report from the New York Post that Gawker Media founder Nick Denton was “quietly soliciting bids” for the company.
Denton has hired a Houlihan Lokey investment banker to advise him on a potential sale, sources told the Post and the Journal. At least one party has reportedly “expressed interest” in a deal valued between $50 and $70 million, the Post reports.
In March, Hogan was awarded $140 million in damages stemming from a Gawker news article published in 2012, which included a clip of Hulk Hogan having sex, along with commentary. Gawker Media was handed a loss on Wednesday, when a judge in Florida denied Gawker’s motion for a new trial.
This means the damages will not be reduced. However, Gawker can appeal this latest ruling to Florida’s Second District Court of Appeals, where it is confident it will succeed, Capital New York reports.
In a related development, billionaire Silicon Valley investor Peter Thiel told The New York Times that he secretly financed Hulk Hogan’s lawsuit and others against Gawker Media in an effort to put the website out of business.
“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 reportedly outed as gay in 2007 – told The Times.
Thiel once compared Gawker to Al Qaeda.
Gawker gave the following statement:
Everyone take a breath. We’ve had bankers engaged for quite some time given the need for contingency planning around Facebook board member Peter Thiel’s revenge campaign – that’s how the Columbus Nova investment was arranged. We recently engaged Mark Patricof to advise us and that seems to have stirred up some excitement, when the fact is that nothing is new.