UPDATE, 1:12 PM: Univision just officially announced its acquisition of Gawker Media, adding it will “not be operating the Gawker.com site.”
Univision will fold other Gawker-owned properties — Gizmodo, Jalopnik, Jezebel, Deadspin, Lifehacker and Kotaku — into the Fusion Media Group.
That operation “is focused on serving America’s diverse youth with digital-first brands that reflect their values and passions, authentically,” says Chief News, Entertainment and Digital Officer Isaac Lee.
The Gawker properties reach about 50 million readers per month, raising FMG’s reach to nearly 75 million.
PREVIOUS, 10:18 AM: Univision has agreed to buy Gawker Media — but not the 14-year-old site that started the company, Gawker.com, which will end operations this week.
Founder Nick Denton told staffers today ahead of a U.S. Bankruptcy Court session to approve Univision’s $135 million purchase, the site says. It adds that “near-term plans for Gawker.com’s coverage, as well as the site’s archives, have not yet been finalized.”
The purchase agreement with Univision, filed at the court yesterday, allowed for Univision to designate Gawker.com as an “excluded asset.”
Properties in the sale will include Gizmodo, Lifehacker, Kotaku, Jalopnik, Deadspin and Jezebel.
The Spanish-language broadcaster plans to add them to its digital portfolio which includes Fusion, The Onion, and The Root.
The digital expansion could enhance the perception of Univision as a forward-looking media power, which would be helpful if it decides to go public. The company has been mulling the possibility of raising $1 billion in a stock sale. It filed a preliminary prospectus with the SEC last year.
Gawker Media filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after wrestler Hulk Hogan won a $140 million verdict in an invasion-of-privacy lawsuit. Gawker had posted a sex tape featuring Hogan. Denton has also filed for bankruptcy.
A Florida circuit judge upheld the award to Hogan, whose legal effort was backed by Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel.
Much of Univision’s cash will go to Hogan. Denton is responsible for paying $10 million to the wrestler while he and Gawker jointly owe $115 million.
Gawker generated $48.7 million in revenue last year, a court filing shows.
Its bankruptcy auction only attracted two bidders — Univision and Ziff Davis — though several took a look. Ziff Davis previously had made a $90 million so-called stalking horse bid, providing a floor for the auction.