NEW YORK — The embattled online media company Gawker Media has hired an investment banker to explore its options, including a possible sale.
Two months ago, Gawker lost a $140 million invasion-of-privacy suit against Hulk Hogan over a sex tape of the wrestler that the site posted online. It emerged this week that Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel was behind the suit. He told The New York Times that he has bankrolled lawyers to mount cases against Gawker because one of the company’s blogs, the now-defunct Valleywag, posted a story in 2007 that said he was gay. The company also wrote other articles that he said he considered critical of his friends and others.
Gawker said Thursday that it expects to prevail in an appeal of the Hogan verdict and that it’s always said it is exploring contingency plans. The company would not say when the banker, Mark Patricof of Houlihan Lokey, was hired, other than to say “recently.” The Wall Street Journal and the New York Post earlier reported that Gawker was interested in a sale.
Gawker hasn’t said whether it could afford to pay the $140 million verdict. During the trial in Florida in March, Hogan’s lawyer said Gawker Media’s gross revenue in 2015 was $48.7 million. Lawyers said the company was worth $83 million.