Last month, in the face of endless litigation from billionaire enemy Peter Thiel, Gawker Media filed for bankruptcy protection.
At a hearing in bankruptcy court today, a judge approved Gawker’s plans for a bankruptcy sale. The auction will be held on Aug. 16 (about five weeks from now), and the hearing confirming the winning bid will be held on Aug. 18.
It’s a small victory for Gawker, which might have otherwise had to pay out a substantial sum of money.
Hulk Hogan, the ex-pro wrestler suing Gawker and its founding CEO Nick Denton, won a $140 million judgment against the company in March. By successfully filing for bankruptcy protection, Gawker Media is protected from handing over any money to Hogan, whose legal efforts against Gawker (among myriad others) are reportedly being financed by Peter Thiel, who wants to sue the company out of existence.
Though Hogan isn’t seeking further action against Gawker Media, he alleges that the company made a secret loan to Denton and that Denton shouldn’t be afforded bankruptcy protection along with the company. Gawker Media and legal experts, meanwhile, have said that Gawker (and Denton) are likely to win on appeal.
The bidding for Gawker will start with whoever wants to top the roughly $100 million starting offer from publisher Ziff-Davis, which owns titles like PC Mag and IGN. Other names that have been publicly floated as potential bidders include Univision and Penske Media (the publisher of Variety and the Hollywood Reporter), but it’s unclear who is actually planning to submit a bid. Additionally, it’s hazy whether or not a bidder will continue to operate Gawker.com, which might be a liability with advertisers in ways that sister sites Gizmodo, Deadspin or Jezebel are not.
Denton has said that Gawker Media would be profitable were it not for the money it’s shelling out in legal fees. A representative for Hulk Hogan (actual name: Terry Bollea) did not respond to a request for comment. Below, you can read the full statement from Gawker about today’s legal proceedings:
We created the most successful independently funded media business operating at scale, and now new ownership will ensure the continued success of our popular brands. Peter Thiel can force us to sell, but he will not force us to go away. This case has shed light on the risks to independent journalism of secretive revenge campaigns funded by Silicon Valley billions. And we are confident that the appeals court will rule in our favor, ultimately proving that free press is more powerful than a billionaire’s grudge.
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.