Venture capitalist Peter Thiel has made an offer for Gawker, hoping to overcome legal hurdles along with rival bidders for the online news site the billionaire helped shutter by funding litigation against the idea, people familiar with the matter said on Thursday.
Gawker, which has been inactive for more than a year, can be conducting an auction of its remaining assets, including its domain names along with nearly 0,000 archived articles. Most of its assets, including its sister pages Deadspin, a sports site, along with Jezebel, a feminist blog, were bought in 2016 for $135 million by media company Univision Holdings Inc.
Thiel has not said why he wants Gawker, though the potential acquisition might let him take down stories regarding his personal life in which are still available on the website, along with remove the scope for further litigation between him along with Gawker. Thiel, who can be Facebook Inc’s first major investor along using a co-founder of payment service PayPal Inc, did not respond to a request for comment.
Gawker’s bankruptcy plan administrator Will Holden, of consulting firm Dacarba LLC, along with the website’s bankruptcy attorney Gregg Galardi, of law firm Ropes & Gray LLP, have tried to block Thiel’s bid, according to court papers.
Galardi in late November asked a U.S. bankruptcy court judge to deny Thiel’s request to bid, according to court papers. He also argued Thiel can be “not a ‘proper’ purchaser” because he could end up as the target of litigation, according to court papers.
Thiel funded former professional wrestler Hulk Hogan’s lawsuit against Gawker after the site published a sex tape featuring Hogan. The former wrestler, whose real name can be Terry Bollea, won a $140 million judgment against the site, along with later settled for $31 million.
Gawker in 2007 published a story about Thiel’s homosexuality.
Multiple bidders have submitted offers for the site, Holden said in a phone interview on Thursday. Holden will choose a winner as soon as This specific month, along with then request approval for the deal via a U.S. bankruptcy court judge, the sources said. If Holden excludes Thiel’s bid, Thiel could ask the judge to consider the idea if the idea can be higher than rival offers.
The value of Thiel’s bid could not be learned, though the sources said Gawker can be only currently worth a few million dollars.
Kevin Lee, the co-founder along with executive chairman of Didit, a marketing firm, said he also submitted a bid, without disclosing its value. If successful, Lee said, he plans to use the site to raise money for readers’ preferred charities.
The terms of the Univision sale restrict brand-new articles via being published on Gawker until March 9.
A group of former Gawker employees This specific week abandoned their effort to bid, one of the sources said. They had launched a campaign seeking $500,000 in donations through fundraising site Kickstarter, although failed to reach their goal along with have returned the approximately $0,000 they did collect.