The Brief Reign of Gawker Media Ends Today

Denton and Daulerio in court

Need to Know

The brief, loud, and contentious era of an independent Gawker Media ends tomorrow. Bids are due today for all of the company’s holdings, which include Jezebel, Gizmodo, Deadspin, and the flagship Gawker.com. An auction will be held tomorrow, with bids beginning at $90 million.

Following a $140 million legal judgement against the company in their invasion-of-privacy suit with Hulk Hogan, both the company and founder Nick Denton have declared bankruptcy. Former Gawker editor A.J. Daulerio’s meager assets will likely be seized tomorrow as well.

Among the potential purchasers:

–Ziff Davis, the publisher that placed a $90 million stalking-horse bid on the company in June. As CEO Vivek Shah wrote at the time, “In the event we become the acquirer, the additions of Gizmodo, Lifehacker and Kotaku would fortify our position in consumer tech and gaming. With the addition of Jalopnik, Deadspin and Jezebel, we would broaden our position as a lifestyle publisher.”

–Vox Media, the publisher of sites such as The Verge, SB Nation, and Vox.com, has also expressed interest. In 2013, the company acquired Curbed.com for a reported $20 to $30 million, also hiring Curbed’s founder, Lockhart Steele, as editorial director; Steele is a former editor at Gawker.

–Univision, the cash-rich media company that has expanded its Spanish-language media empire into ventures such as the satirical mainstay The Onion and the ratings-challenged Fusion

At a teary farewell to the Gawker of old on Thursday night, Denton offered up a defiant warning about a media landscape where one powerful billionaire can shutter a site he dislikes.

“The economy’s going to be dominated by a dozen monopolies,” Denton said, “and people who have their share of the monopoly profits are going to be able to buy the press and use the court system to their advantage.”