Univision shuts down Gawker.com

UPDATED: Univision Communications has decided to shut down Gawker.com next week, just days after agreeing to pay $135m for bankrupt digital publisher Gawker Media.

The deal covers all seven of Gawker Media’s websites, and the other sites, including Gizmodo, Lifehacker, Deadspin and Jezebel, are expected to keep running.

Ziff Davis was the only other bidder for Gawker, which filed for bankruptcy after wrestler Hulk Hogan won a $140m judgment in an invasion-of-privacy lawsuit. Hogan’s lawsuit was backed by tech billionaire Peter Thiel.

Gawker Media owner Nick Denton said: “Gawker Media Group has agreed this evening to sell our business and popular brands to Univision, one of America’s largest media companies that is rapidly assembling the leading digital media group for millennial and multicultural audiences. I am pleased that our employees are protected and will continue their work under new ownership — disentangled from the legal campaign against the company. We could not have picked an acquirer more devoted to vibrant journalism.”

A US bankruptcy court judge needs to sign off on the deal before it becomes official. The $140m judgment funds are being set aside while Gawker Media appeals the court case and will eventually be awarded to the side that wins in the appeal.

Initially a Spanish-language TV network, Univision has moved aggressively into digital publishing in recent years, acquiring The Root, aimed at African-Americans and satire site The Onion, as well as taking full ownership Fusion, which Univision launched with Disney in 2013.