Bustle Founder Wins Out in Bid for Gawker

Bryan Goldberg reportedly got it for as much as $1.5 million

Bustle owner Bryan Goldberg won the auction. Bustle, Gawker
Headshot of Sara Jerde

A holding company owned and managed by Bryan Goldberg, the founder of Bleacher Report and Bustle, won a bankruptcy auction for Gawker.com and its assets. The successful bid was reportedly up to $1.5 million.

It’s not clear what Goldberg, currently the CEO of Elite Daily and Bustle, intends to do with the assets, including Gawker.com and the articles published there. Will Holden, the founder of the Boathouse Group who serves as the plan administrator for the estate did not immediately return requests for comment.

Most recently, we heard grand plans from Didit, a marketing agency that wanted to turn Gawker.com into Gawker for Good. The agency started the bidding today at $1.13 million. A judge is expected to approve the sale on Tuesday, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Gawker Media filed for bankruptcy in June 2016 after former professional wrestler Hulk Hogan (real name Terry Bollea) brought a lawsuit claiming the website caused him emotional pain after he was featured in a sex tape it published. Bollea won a $115 million verdict.

After about 13 years of publishing, Gawker.com, where the work is archived but nothing new has been posted, shut down in August 2016.

It’s not yet known what will happen to the site, which once criticized a comprehensive survey Bustle asked writers to complete that included questions about whether they enjoyed casual sex or had ever had an abortion. Nor is it known what will happen to a post that specifically called Goldberg “even more of a self-serving misogynist than you feared.”

The fate of other Gawker properties that Univision acquired in a bankruptcy auction in 2016 is also not clear. Included in that $135 million purchase were Gizmodo, Jalopnik, Jezebel, Deadspin, Lifehacker and Kotaku.

Earlier this week, Univision announced after going through high-level layoffs and employee buyouts that it would consider putting them up for sale along with other sites it had launched under Gizmodo Media Group as well as The Onion, which Univision also bought in 2016.

@SaraJerde sara.jerde@adweek.com Sara Jerde is publishing editor at Adweek, where she covers traditional and digital publishers’ business models. She also oversees political coverage ahead of the 2020 election.