Gawker Media Looking For A Buyer Amid Hulk Hogan Legal Battle

Gawker Media — former parent company to Consumerist and former employer of two current staffers — is considering the option of selling itself off as it continues to fight an expensive legal battle against Hulk Hogan.

The New York Post first reported, then Gawker confirmed to the Wall Street Journal that the media company has hired an outside banker to review its options.

For those who have avoided coverage of the Gawker/Hogan lawsuit, the wrestler and reality TV star has sued the media company for violating his privacy in Oct. 2012 when Gawker’s namesake site posted a snippet of a 2006 sex video featuring Hogan and the then-wife of his friend Todd “Bubba the Love Sponge” Clem.

In March 2016, a Florida jury found in favor of Hogan and ultimately awarded him a total of $140 million in damages. Gawker has filed an appeal in the case.

Earlier this year, as the lawsuit gained momentum, Gawker’s founder Nick Denton brought in his first outside investor, Columbus Nova Technology Partners, which paid $100 million for a minority stake in the company. At the time, the business was valued at around $250 million, but following the outcome of the trial, where an $83 million figure was put on Gawker, that value has dropped.

According to the Post, there are already offers in the $50 million to $70 million range. It’s not clear if that price is for the entire company or for a significant ownership stake.

It was recently revealed that Silicon Valley venture capitalist Peter Thiel is helping to fund Hogan’s lawsuit against Gawker. In 2007, the site wrote about Thiel’s sexuality, and some have classified his support of Hogan as an attempt at revenge, though Thiel says it’s more about “specific deterrence.”

In a statement to the Journal, Gawker says that it’s had bankers engaged “for quite some time given the need for contingency planning around Facebook board member Peter Thiel’s revenge campaign.”