Gawker.com announces it will close next week

After nearly 14 years of celebrity news, pop culture, and media, gossip blog Gawker.com will be ceasing operations next week after the acquisition of its parent company’s assets was approved by a bankruptcy court on Thursday, AdWeek and The Verge are reporting.

According to published reports, now that a bankruptcy judge has officially approved the $135 million acquisition of Gawker Media by Univision Communications, the new ownership plans to add six Gawker Media websites into its Fusion Media Group – but not the flagship site.

Gizmodo, Jalopnik, Jezebel, Deadspin, Lifehacker and Kotaku will join the likes of The Onion, The Root and Flama as part of Fusion Media Group. Outgoing Gawker CEO Nick Denton said that attempts to find a new caretaker for Gawker.com had failed, and that staff had been told of the decision early Thursday afternoon, before the bankruptcy court announced its verdict.

The site also posted an online statement which said that staffers “will soon be assigned to other editorial roles, either at one of the other six sites or elsewhere within Univision. Near-term plans for Gawker.com’s coverage, as well as the site’s archives, have not yet been finalized.”

Gawker.com ‘too risky’ for investors, founder claims

Gawker Media filed for bankruptcy last year after it was hit with a $140 million judgment in a lawsuit filed by former professional wrestler Hulk Hogan, who was featured in a sex tape which was published online by the company. As it turns out, Hogan’s lawsuit was secretly funded by Paypal billionaire Peter Thiel, who had been outed as gay in an earlier Gawker report.

In a statement published by AdWeek, Denton said that he was “relieved… that we have found the best possible harbor for Gizmodo, Lifehacker, Kotaku, Jalopnik, Jezebel and Deadspin, and our talented writers and other staff,” but added that they had “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 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,” he continued, adding that he personally planned to “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.”

Denton founded his New York-based media conglomerate in 2002 and incorporated it a decade later in the Cayman Islands. It filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on June 10 in the wake of the Hogan verdict, which was issued in March. Denton and Gawker are appealing that ruling, but the outcome of that process will have no impact on the website’s future, he confirmed.

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Image credit: Gawker

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