Gawker.com To Shut Down Next Week, Not Being Purchased By Univision
LawNewz has learned that according to a source familiar with the situation, Gawker.com, the flagship and namesake blog of Gawker Media, is not being sold to Univision as part of the latter’s purchase of the former’s assets in a bankruptcy court auction on Tuesday. Gawker announced the news as we were drafting this article. All of Gawker Media’s other brands will go to Univision, but Gawker.com will, legally speaking, continue to be part of the bankrupt Gawker Media entity. According to the announcement, written by J.K. Trotter, “The near-term plans for Gawker.com’s coverage, as well as the site’s archives, have not yet been finalized.” The bankruptcy itself was a result of the $115 million jury award against the company in pro wrestler Hulk Hogan’s invasion of privacy lawsuit.
On Wednesday, J.K. Trotter reported that company president and general counsel Heather Dietrick notified all staff on Wednesday morning that “She did not know exactly when Univision would make a final decision about Gawker.com, but said that she hopes one will be made soon.” According to documents filed with the bankruptcy court roughly 10-11 hours later, on Wednesday night at 8:48 p.m., ET, it looks like Univision wasn’t willing to negotiate.
What was filed was the asset purchase agreement between Gawker Media, its sister companies, and Unimoda, the Univision subsidiary that’s actually buying the assets of the now-bankrupt entities (emphasis ours):
“Excluded Assets Schedule” means the Excluded Assets Schedule included in the Disclosure Schedule, which may be supplemented by Buyer at any time prior to the date that is three (3) days prior to the Closing solely to designate gawker.com, together with any Seller Assets associated with gawker.com that are not otherwise used or held for use in connection with any other Acquired Assets, as an inclusion to such Schedule; provided, that any such supplement shall not result in any changes or modifications to this Agreement other than the designation of such Seller Assets as Excluded Assets.
The above text is nowhere to be found in the proposed purchase agreement between Gawker Media and Ziff Davis, who served as the “stalking horse bidder” to set the minimum bid and got a $3 million breakup fee for their trouble. In fact, in the same filing as the Unimoda agreement is the “backline comparison” where they went through the Ziff Davis agreement and color coded the changes: Everything that Unimoda removed is red with strikethroughs, while everything they added, including the above, in blue.
Update 4:06 pm 8/18/2016
Nick Denton released this staff memo: