Gawker owes Hulk Hogan (and his benefactor, sentient copy of Atlas Shrugged Peter Thiel) $140 million, after it lost a class action suit earlier this year. That judgment is being appealed, but to avoid paying Hogan, the company and its owner, Nick Denton, are filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The media company isn’t going anywhere and it will continue to publish while it fights the judgment, but there are plans to sell. Publisher Ziff Davis has a low-ball bid in to buy the company for $100 million. According to re/code, “in advance of the Hogan trial, Denton figured his company was worth something in the $250 million to $300 million range.”
Gawker Media will probably survive—though there are some indications that, if Davis prevails, its flagship blog will not—but this is another chapter in an enormously troubling story. Gawker has done enormously important journalistic work on its many properties—this is a good primer—but it’s being punished because one billionaire didn’t like its stories about him.