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Gawker files for bankruptcy, seeks sale after $140 million Hulk Hogan verdict

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Nick Denton, founder of Gawker, talks with his legal team before Terry Bollea, aka Hulk Hogan, testifies in court during his trial against Gawker Media at the Pinellas County Courthouse on March 8, 2016 in St Petersburg, Fla. (Photo: John Pendygraft-Pool/Getty Images)

NEW YORK — Gawker Media has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and is in talks to sell the company, a Gawker source said Friday.

The dramatic move was motivated by the company’s expensive legal fight with Hulk Hogan, a court fight that was funded by Silicon Valley investor Peter Thiel. The filing came on Friday in the federal bankruptcy court in Manhattan.

It came the same day that a Florida judge granted Gawker’s motion to postpone the staggering $140.1 million judgment a jury awarded to Hogan in March in the former professional wrestler’s invasion of privacy trial against the company.

The source confirmed that Gawker has received a bid for less than $100 million from the publisher Ziff Davis, the owner of PC Magazine.

Although the move was widely expected as necessary protection against the threat of a big payout in the Hogan lawsuit, prompted by Gawker’s 2012 publication of excerpts from his sex tape, it still brings a cloud of uncertainty over the company.

Gawker is still pushing ahead with its appeal of the judgment and has maintained confidence that it will ultimately be vindicated, but the company has been openly entertaining a sale.

Nick Denton, the founder and CEO of Gawker, said at a conference earlier this month that the company has a “whole bunch of inbound interest” from potential buyers.

Denton declined to comment on the bankruptcy filing.

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