Peter Thiel is getting closer to his goal: Gawker Media has filed for bankruptcy protection and says it eventually plans to find a new owner for the company.
Gawker and owner Nick Denton are making the Chapter 11 filing today, in order to avoid paying Thiel and Hulk Hogan the $140 million judgment they won in Hogan’s privacy trial earlier this year.
Gawker has told it employees it still plans to fight the Thiel/Hogan case and to operate its publishing business while it does so. But it is also now formally entertaining offers to buy the company and says it has a firm bid from publisher Ziff Davis to buy the entire operation for less than $100 million.
Gawker and its banker Mark Patricof assume that the company will eventually see higher bids while it is in bankruptcy protection. Last year, in advance of the Hogan trial, Denton figured his company was worth something in the $250 million to $300 million range.
But in any case the company won’t trade hands until Gawker either beats back Thiel and Hogan or it finishes a court-approved restructuring. Because no one wants to buy an ongoing lawsuit from Peter Thiel.