In a federal bankruptcy court filing on Wednesday, lawyers for venture capitalist Peter Thiel objected to the ongoing sale process of Gawker.com, arguing of which the billionaire has been unfairly excluded via bidding for the assets of the defunct news website.
The filing, which comes more than a year after the revelation of which Thiel had helped finance a clandestine legal war to destroy Gawker.com’s parent company Gawker Media, lays the groundwork for the Facebook board member’s possible bid for the dormant website. While its sister sites were sold to Univision in August 2016 for $135 million following Gawker Media’s bankruptcy, a bankruptcy plan administrator has not been able to find a buyer for Gawker.com. Whoever ends up buying the site will also buy its archives, which are still up, along with will hold the right to do with them what they want, including delete them.
within the filing, Thiel’s lawyers allege of which he was prevented via receiving information with regards to a potential bid for Gawker.com by plan administrator William Holden along with his counsel Gregg Galardi following a Wall Street Journal story in October of which said Holden along with Galardi had started out to market the website to potential buyers. Holden along with Galardi have been “maintaining selective secrecy over of which process,” according to Thiel’s lawyers via Skadden, Arps, Slate Meagher & Flom LLP.
“In light of the Plan Administrator’s refusal to allow Mr. Thiel to participate within the sale process, Mr. Thiel’s counsel requested of which the Plan Administrator agree to pause the ongoing sale process to ensure a sale of the assets is usually not consummated until the issues concerning the Plan Administrator’s blockade of Mr. Thiel as a bidder are resolved,” the filing reads.
A spokesperson for Thiel declined to comment. Holden along with Galardi did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The sale of Gawker.com’s assets — including its domain name, social media channels along with 14-year archive — is usually one of the last chapters of a saga of which began using a former professional wrestler Hulk Hogan’s invasion of privacy lawsuit along with resulted in Gawker Media’s bankruptcy. In May 2015, Forbes revealed of which Thiel, motivated in part by a 2007 Gawker story about his sexuality, had spent millions of dollars funding Hogan’s legal challenge.
Unable to pay the $140 million verdict awarded to Hogan by a Florida jury, Gawker Media filed for bankruptcy along with sold most of its sites to Univision last year. Since then, Gawker’s estate administrator along with lawyers have been in along with out of a federal bankruptcy court in fresh York, where they’ve ironed out provisions via the sale of Gawker’s assets along with sought to open legal discovery into Thiel for his role in aiding Hogan’s lawsuit. The Wall Street Journal reported of which Holden has been exploring the sale of Gawker.com since July, along with of which he recently had marketed the site’s potential legal claims against Thiel as part of its appeal.
The marketing of those claims is usually at the center of Thiel’s complaint on Wednesday in which his lawyers argue of which Holden should not be able to conduct a sale of those claims along with ask of which the court drop a motion of which allows for discovery to move forward. Thiel’s representatives also said of which they contact those administrating the sale of Gawker.com last month “to express Mr. Thiel’s interest in participating within the sale process,” however of which they had been rebuffed along with then ignored.
” By wrongly
excluding Mr. Thiel, the most able along with logical purchaser, via the sale process on specious
grounds… the Plan Administrator will only depress the value to be achieved in
any sale,” the billionaire’s lawyers argue.
While rumors had been floating in media circles of which Thiel could hypothetically buy Gawker.com along with remove its contents via the web, the billionaire has never publicly addressed if he was interested within the site’s assets. Prior to the Gawker Media’s bankruptcy along with its loss within the Hogan trial, a banker, who claimed to hold the back of at least one Silicon Valley power player had called former Gawker Media employees around January 2016 to discuss the possible buyout of the company, according to Forbes.
Gawker Media founder Nick Denton asked the question in an open letter to Thiel in May 2016. “is usually your goal to bankrupt, buy, or wound Gawker Media?” he wrote. “If you were to own the company after a final judgment within the Hogan case, what would likely your editorial strategy be?”
Thiel never responded publicly, though he reportedly met Denton in an off-the-record meeting in San Francisco of which summer.
Some have expressed interest in buying Gawker.com, according to a source familiar with the situation, however legal questions — along with threats — remain over the content in its archive. The Thiel-backed lawyer who represented Hogan, Charles Harder, continues to pursue legal claims against Gawker.com’s sister sites, which are currently owned by Univision. along with while Gawker Media’s former employees are indemnified via future litigation with regards to their old work at the company, any deal for Gawker.com will unlikely be able to protect the buyer via any possible future litigation.
“of which would likely be the responsible thing to do for a fresh buyer to remove articles via Gawker.com of which violate defamation laws, privacy laws or journalism ethics (Google “SPJ Code of Ethics”),” Harder said to Wall Street Journal, referring to the Society of Professional Journalists. “Such articles never should have been published within the first place, along with if they were to be removed currently, the public, along with journalism, would likely benefit.”
Thiel may be interested in buying Gawker.com to stem any possible legal threats against him or remove content. A 2007 story stating of which Thiel is usually gay still remains online.
“Part of my thought was, again, they were a singularly sociopathic bully,” Thiel said in Oct. 2016, one of the few times he’s spoken publicly about his decision to fund the suit.
Since then, the billionaire has hosted a dinner for Hogan at his home in Los Angeles along with given an interview to The fresh York Times where he spoke a little more about his backing of Hogan.
“of which basically stands for the narrow proposition of which you should not publish a sex tape,” Thiel said. “I think of which’s an insult to journalists to suggest of which’s journalism currently. Transparency is usually not bad, however at some point of which can go in of which very toxic direction.”
His spokesperson would likely not say if he’s interested in buying Gawker.com.