Out Billionaire Peter Thiel Bankrupted Gawker. Now He Wants To Buy It

Adam Jeffery  CNBC  NBCU

Adam Jeffery CNBC NBCU

Gawker Media's remaining assets, including the sports site Deadspin and tech blog Gizmodo, sold to Univision for $135 million in 2016, shortly after the company declared bankruptcy.

Gawker, which has been inactive for more than a year, is conducting an auction of its remaining assets, including its domain names and almost 200,000 archived articles.

He was Facebook's first major investor and a co-founder of online payment service PayPal.

The website's bankruptcy attorney, Gregg Galardi of law firm Ropes & Gray LLP, previously attempted to block Thiel from purchasing the site, arguing that Thiel would be an "improper buyer" due to the potential for Thiel to be the target of lawsuits over his funding of Hogan's case. The former wrestler, whose real name is Terry Bollea, won a $US140 million judgment against the site, and later settled for $US31 million.

SAUL LOEB via Getty Images Peter Thiel discusses his support for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., October 31, 2016.

Getty Images
Getty Images

"All people deserve respect, and nobody's sexuality should be made a public fixation", Thiel wrote in a Times op-ed, blaming Gawker for feeding the public's "lurid interest in gay life".

Multiple bidders have submitted offers for the site, bankruptcy plan administrator Will Holden said in a phone interview.

A winning bid could be announced as soon as this month, but would have to be approved by a US bankruptcy court judge.

The value of Thiel's bid could not be learned, though the sources said Gawker is only now worth a few million dollars. If Holden excludes Thiel's bid, the Silicon Valley titan and cheerleader for Donald Trump could appeal to the judge.

If successful, Mr Lee said, he planned to use the site to raise money for readers' preferred charities. They had launched a campaign seeking $500,000 in donations through fundraising site Kickstarter, but failed to reach their goal and have returned the approximately $90,000 they did collect.