In 2016, Silicon Valley venture capitalist and Facebook board member Peter Thiel was revealed as the money man behind Hulk Hogan’s lawsuit against the website Gawker (as well as several other lawsuits against the company) over a sex tape featuring Hogan and his friend’s wife. Hogan ultimately won, leading to a multi-million dollar settlement with Hogan and Gawker’s parent company being sold to Univision and rebranded while also being shuttered. Now, after months of speculation, Thiel has made an offer to buy Gawker, possibly in order to control the website’s archives. However, he may face some stumbling blocks.
The Gawker domain and archive of over 200,000 articles is currently up for auction, and while Thiel’s intentions for the website aren’t public information, it’s likely he has very specific motives:
Thiel has not said why he wants Gawker, though the potential acquisition would let him take down stories regarding his personal life that are still available on the website, and remove the scope for further litigation between him and Gawker.
Gawker’s bankruptcy plan administrator and its bankruptcy lawyer have both tried to block Thiel from bidding on the site, according to court documents.
If the administrator does not select Thiel’s bid, he would have the right to appeal to a bankruptcy court, especially if he believes his offer was larger than other bidder. While the amount of Thiel’s bid is not known, Gawker is believed to only be worth a few million dollars, a steep decline from the website’s pre-lawsuit days. Earlier this week, a group of former Gawker employees abandoned an attempt to purchase the site and its archives after coming up short of their fundraising goal.