Univision has purchased Gawker Media’s assets for $135 million, Recode reports. The Spanish-language broadcast giant outbid the only other bidder — Ziff Davis, the technology-centric trade and lifestyle publisher — during an auction on Monday at the offices of Ropes & Gray, Gawker’s bankruptcy counsel.
A judge will certify Univision’s winning bid for Gawker’s assets later this week and the sale will officially close early next month. Over the past two years, Univision has been expanding its reach into English-language digital media companies, in preparation for a planned IPO that is expected to take place next year. It bought The Root, an African-American news site, in May 2015 and acquired a controlling stake in satirical news site The Onion in January. In April, it bought out Disney’s half of Fusion, an English-language cable network and digital media venture targeted at millennials.
It’s the end of an era for Gawker and CEO Nick Denton, who founded the company in 2002 and has long boasted of its independence. The company did not take any outside equity funding until January, when it sold a minority stake to the venture capital firm Columbus Nova.
Denton confirmed the sale, which was first reported by Recode, in a statement. “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,” the statement reads. “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.”
Bids were due at the end of business on Monday, with just two contenders, Ziff Davis and Univision, having made formal bids. Other companies that were said to be exploring making a bid included Penske Media, owner of Variety and Deadline, and Vox Media, which operates a portfolio of sites that include The Verge and Recode.
While the suspense has ended, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Stuart Bernstein will have to approve the sale before it’s official, and a hearing is currently set for Thursday.