Nick Denton always insisted he would beat Hulk Hogan and Peter Thiel in court. Now we’ll never know.
The Gawker Media founder wants to pay the wrestler more than $31 million to settle the sex tape privacy suit that bankrupted both Gawker and Denton and forced them to sell most of Denton’s blogging empire to Univision.
Denton had previously pledged to appeal a Florida court’s judgment. But now, he says, he has decided he doesn’t want to keep fighting Hogan, whose case had been funded by Thiel, the Silicon Valley billionaire.
“All-out legal war with Thiel would have cost too much, and hurt too many people, and there was no end in sight. The Valley billionaire, famously relentless, had committed publicly to support Hulk Hogan beyond the appeal and ‘until his final victory.’ Gawker’s nemesis was not going away,” Denton wrote in a post today.
Univision bought most of the assets of Gawker Media Group earlier this year for $135 million. Now a good chunk of that money is supposed to go to Hogan, as well as two other plaintiffs who were repped by the same legal firm that worked with the wrestler.
Under terms of the proposed settlement, which needs to be approved by a bankruptcy court:
- Hogan (and his lawyers) will get $31 million.
- Shiva Ayyadurai and Ashley Terrill, who had filed separate cases against Gawker — and were also represented by Charles Harder, the attorney who represented Hogan — will get a total of $1.25 million.
- Gawker Media will hold a reserve of $3.5 million to handle other possible claims
Gawker is also removing stories about Hogan, Ayyadurai and Terrill from the Gawker.com site, which Denton calls “the most unpalatable part of the deal.”
Gawker.com itself remains part of the old Gawker Media Group. But no one is running the site, and no one can operate it for at least another year as part of a non-compete agreement between Gawker and Univision.
If someone does eventually buy Gawker.com itself, Harder’s clients would get 45 percent of that sale, according to the proposed settlement.
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.