Bryan Goldberg, the owner of popular websites like Bustle.com and Elite Daily, was successful with a $1.35 million bid for Gawker.com at a bankruptcy auction on Thursday.
Gawker had been in bankruptcy court for nearly two years until its sale to Goldberg and comes as Univision Communications is looking to sell the gossip blog's sister websites, Jezebel and Deadspin, which it previously purchased for $135 million in 2016, according to Reuters.
Gawker has been seeking a buyer for months after settling in May with billionaire venture capitalist Peter Thiel on legal issues that arose during its bankruptcy. Thiel, who funded a privacy lawsuit that drove Gawker into bankruptcy, agreed to drop his bid for the site and abandon legal claims against any eventual buyer.
The websites in Goldberg's Bustle Digital Group reach over 80 million women each month, according to his LinkedIn profile. Goldberg previously founded sports media brand Bleacher Report, which Time Warner Inc acquired for $200 million in 2012.
A U.S. bankruptcy court judge must approve the bid before the deal is finalized. Goldberg was able to beat out offers from multiple companies, including the Long Island marketing firm Didit and a holding company called Online Logo Maker LLC, according to people familiar with the competitors.
If Didit won the bid, the company said it was looking to revamp Gawker and publish only stories that it considers positive news. They would then take the ad revenue and send it to charities. Their initial offer for Gawker was $1.13 million.
Hamilton Nolan, a former writer of Gawker, mocked Goldberg in a 2013 article entitled, "The Relentless and Well-Deserved Mockery of Bryan Goldberg."
— Stephen Miller (@redsteeze) July 12, 2018
Goldberg sent out a note to the Bustle team Thursday afternoon after news spread about his purchase of Gawker; the note indicated he has "no immediate plans to re-launch Gawker," according to a CNN reporter who obtained the note.
— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) July 12, 2018