Bryan Goldberg, the owner of popular websites like Bustle.com and Elite Daily, announced in a memo Tuesday that he will relaunch Gawker next year. Goldberg made a successful $1.35 million bid for the plagued company at a bankruptcy auction in July.
Gawker had been in bankruptcy court for nearly two years until its sale to Goldberg over the summer. The sale comes as Univision Communications–which previously purchased Gawker Media assets for $135 million in 2016 after the company filed for bankruptsy–looks to sell the gossip blog's sister websites, Jezebel and Deadspin.
Gawker filed for bankruptcy in 2016 while in the midst of a lawsuit spurred by its publishing of a Hulk Hogan sex tape. Libertarian billionaire Peter Thiel funded the lawsuit. Gawker had, years before, in 2007, published a story reporting Thiel was gay, an action many considered to be a public outing of Thiel. Friends of the billionaire told Forbes that the article "left a mark" and that it was likely part of his motivation for going after Gawker in court.
Goldberg told Bustle staff he hired Amanda Hale, who most recently served as the chief revenue officer of the culture website The Outline, to be the new publisher of Gawker, according to the memo obtained by Variety.
Goldberg is targeting the Gawker relaunch for early 2019. "We won’t recreate Gawker exactly as it was, but we will build upon Gawker’s legacy and triumphs — and learn from its missteps," he wrote in the memo. "In so doing, we aim to create something new, vibrant, highly relevant, and worth visiting daily."
The relaunched Gawker will be "completely distinct from our other properties and sit within a separate corporate subsidiary," according to Goldberg’s memo, although it will use Bustle’s shared resources, technology, and business platform.
A rep for Bustle confirmed the memo’s authenticity but declined to provide additional comment.
Hale, who has a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University, previously worked as an ad exec for political news sites including Talking Points Memo and The Nation. Earlier, she worked as a communications staffer for various political campaigns, including the Senate campaign of Barack Obama.
Hale and Goldberg haven't made any editorial hires for the revamp of the website and have yet to comment on what they will do with Gawker’s archive of nearly 200,000 articles that were acquired as part of the bankruptcy proceeding. A source connected to Goldberg told Variety that he plans to maintain access to the website's archives.
Gawker and its archives are currently owned by BDG GMGI Acquisition, a holding company owned and managed by Goldberg.
"Gawker will be completely distinct from our other properties and sit within a separate corporate subsidiary. That said, it will have access to our shared resources, technology, and business platform," Goldberg wrote. "This is an exciting time for us and we are thrilled to share the news with all of you first. As plans progress and we have further updates to share, we’ll continue to keep the team informed."