Gawker.com to shut down

In the aftermath of losing a $140m privacy lawsuit to Hulk Hogan after publishing a private sex tape of the wrestler, Gawker Media is being sold off – well, nearly all of it.

The vast majority of Gawker Media – including websites like Gizmodo and Lifehacker – has been gobbled up by Spanish-language telly giant Univision for $135m. Univision also owns websites like The Onion. Raucous gossip sheet Gawker.com will not be taken over, and instead it will be shut down next week. Gawker founder Nick Denton is also departing the organization he created 14 years ago. Today, Gawker Media has something like 50 million unique visitors a month to its network.

"Sadly, neither I nor Gawker.com, the buccaneering flagship of the group I built with my colleagues, are coming along for this next stage," Denton emailed his staff on the way out today.

This all comes after billionaire Silicon Valley VC Peter Thiel, quietly seeking revenge on Gawker.com, footed Hogan's legal bills to successfully sue the website for leaking a video of the celebrity wrestler shagging his best friend's wife. Earlier this week, unable to pay the multimillion-dollar damages while waiting to appeal the privacy trial's verdict, Gawker Media was sold to wealthy Univision in a bankruptcy auction.

Hate Gawker.com all you want, but when it wasn't inexplicably airing people's private nookie flicks, it made the web a little less prim and a little less grim. Crucially, in its place it leaves behind a blueprint for the rich to snuff out publications that step out of line. ®


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