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Gawker.com to Shut Down Next Week


FILE - Former professional wrestler Hulk Hogan, left, stands with attorney Seema Ghatnekar, in a courtroom in St. Petersburg, Fla., March 18, 2016. A jury awarded Hogan $115 million in an invasion of privacy case against Gawker Media.

FILE - Former professional wrestler Hulk Hogan, left, stands with attorney Seema Ghatnekar, in a courtroom in St. Petersburg, Fla., March 18, 2016. A jury awarded Hogan $115 million in an invasion of privacy case against Gawker Media.

Gawker.com, the flagship website of Gawker Media, will be shut down next week after a court order to pay $140 million to retired wrestling star Hulk Hogan over a sex tape drove the company to bankruptcy.

The development comes days after Univision agreed to buy Gawker Media, the pioneering digital news startup founded by Nick Denton, for $135 million. Univision's acquisition officially included all seven of Gawker Media's brands — including Jezebel, Gizmodo and Deadspin.

Gawker founder Nick Denton broke the news to staff members on the same day that a bankruptcy court judge in Manhattan approved the Univision deal.

Hogan, a former professional wrestler whose real name is Terry Bollea, sued over a tape posted by Gawker showing him having sex with a friend's wife.

The case gained additional notoriety when it was revealed that Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel had secretly bankrolled Hogan's lawsuit. Thiel was outed as gay by a Gawker-owned website in 2007.

In March, a U.S. jury ordered that wrestling star Hogan be allowed to collect $140 million in total compensation after Gawker published the videotape.

Gawker filed for bankruptcy in June in an attempt to sidestep a shutdown from the judgment.

Denton earlier this month filed for personal bankruptcy protection in a bid to stop his assets from being seized.

While Gawker has come under fire for its no-holds-barred approach to celebrity coverage, the case raised questions about whether powerful interests can use their resources to silence media for unfavorable coverage.

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