Judge Approves Gawker’s Sale to Univision

Nick Denton is officially 'out of the news and gossip business'

A bankruptcy judge approved Univision Communications' $135 million acquisition of Gawker Media Thursday.

Univision will fold six Gawker Media sites into the Fusion Media Group, but is not taking on flagship site Gawker.com.

"We have not been able to find a single media company or investor willing also to take on Gawker.com," wrote Gawker founder Nick Denton in a note to staff. "The campaign being mounted against its editorial ethos and former writers has made it too risky. I can understand the caution."

Gizmodo, Jalopnik, Jezebel, Deadspin, Lifehacker and Kotaku will join the Fusion Media Group which includes The Onion, The Root, Flama and other digital, music and TV entities including Fusion and El Rey.

Denton didn't rule out a Gawker rebirth. "For the moment, however, it will be mothballed, until the smoke clears and a new owner can be found," he said. "The archives will remain, but Monday's posts will be the last of this iteration."

While its base of operations is outside Miami, co-located with Univision News, Fusion Media Group has about 100 staffers in New York's NoHo neighborhood, not far from Gawker's headquarters in Union Square.

With the six new sites, Fusion Media Group is expected to reach 75 million monthly unique visitors. Gawker Media, including Gawker.com, reached 56 million uniques in July.

"I expect the addition of these digital-first media assets will help FMG exceed the demands of the young, cross-cultural influencers we serve," said UCI's chief news, entertainment and digital officer, Isaac Lee, in a statement.

As for Denton, who had to declare personal bankruptcy over the $140 million judgment in the Hulk Hogan sex tape lawsuit, he says he will move on to other projects, "working to make the web a forum for the open exchange of ideas and information, but out of the news and gossip business."

Here is Denton's full memo:

I am relieved that, with the approval today of the agreement with Univision, that we have found the best possible harbor for Gizmodo, Lifehacker, Kotaku, Jalopnik, Jezebel and Deadspin, and our talented writers and other staff. They will be joining The Onion, ClickHole and other beloved web properties in Fusion Media Group, the digital operation of Univision. Isaac Lee and the team at Fusion are fellow spirits, as committed to real journalism and an open future as they are to digital media expansion.

Sadly, neither I nor Gawker.com, the buccaneering flagship of the group I built with my colleagues, are coming along for this next stage. Desirable though the other properties are, we have not been able to find a single media company or investor willing also to take on Gawker.com. The campaign being mounted against its editorial ethos and former writers has made it too risky. I can understand the caution.

Even if the appeals court overturns this spring's Florida jury verdict, Peter Thiel has already achieved many of his objectives.

I will move on to other projects, working to make the web a forum for the open exchange of ideas and information, but out of the news and gossip business.

Gawker.com may, like Spy Magazine in its day, have a second act. For the moment, however, it will be mothballed, until the smoke clears and a new owner can be found. The archives will remain, but Monday's posts will be the last of this iteration.

I am proud of what we have achieved at Gawker Media Group, both in our work and our business, never more so than in these last few months.

Our bloggers — and the alumni now dispersed through the media from the New Yorker to the New York Times — have introduced a new style of journalism, sometimes enthusiastic, sometimes snarky, but always authentic. We connect with a skeptical and media-savvy generation by giving them the real story, the version that journalists used to keep to themselves.

Without outside capital, we bootstrapped a profitable digital media operation. With only the talent and energy of our writers and other staff, we have drawn one of the most influential audiences in digital media: our stories connect with 100m people a month around the world. In 2016's dance of media consolidation, the company has found a partner that understands our appeal and character; not all will have that luck.

As for Gawker.com, founded in 2003 and mothballed in 2016, it will live on in legend. As the short-lived killer android is told in Blade Runner: "The light that burns twice as bright burns half as long, and you have burned so very very brightly."