Devastated by Lawsuit, Gawker.com to Shut Down After 14 Years

PHOTO: Gawker Media founder Nick Denton arrives in a courtroom in St. Petersburg, Florida, March 16, 2016. Spanish-language broadcaster Univision has bought Gawker Media in an auction for $135 million. PlaySteve Nesius/AP Photo
WATCH Devastated by Lawsuit, Gawker.com to Shut Down After 14 Years

In the wake of a devastating lawsuit and a proposed selloff of its holding company to Univision, Gawker.com will shut down next week, ending almost 14 years of independent -- and at times inflammatory -- publishing.

Gawker filed for bankruptcy protection in June, after a jury ordered it to pay celebrity wrestler Hulk Hogan $140 million in damages for the publication of a sex tape in which he is featured. The media company's request for a new trial was denied, but an appeal is outstanding.

In May, billionaire tech mogul Peter Thiel –– who was outed as gay by another Gawker Media site in 2007 –– admitted to financing the lawsuit. Thiel, a co-founder of PayPal and one of the earliest investors in Facebook, told The New York Times that his bankrolling the suit was “less about revenge and more about specific deterrence.”

Earlier this week, Gawker Media CEO Nick Denton announced that he had agreed to sell the company's "business and popular brands to Univision."

In addition to Gawker.com, the online media company owns Gizmodo, Lifehacker, Kotaku, Jalopnik, Jezebel and Deadspin, all of which will be acquired by Univision. The deal, which was priced at $135 million, is expected to be approved by a judge today.

In a letter sent to staffers this afternoon, Denton said he had "not been able to find a single media company or investor" willing to acquire Gawker.com.

"The campaign mounted against its editorial ethos and former writers has made it too risky," for investors, Denton wrote. "Even if the appeals court overturns this spring's Florida jury verdict, Peter Thiel has already achieved many of his objectives."

He said the site's archives will remain online, but that there would be no new content after Monday.

A source familiar with the deal told ABC News that the site will remain with the bankrupt Gawker estat, and could still be sold in the future.

Another source with direct knowledge of the acquisition told ABC News that all Gawker.com staff will be retained by Univision.

Denton confirmed earlier reporting that he would not continue with the brands when they are folded into Univision's portfolio and said he would no longer work in "the news and gossip business."

Univision's purchase of the Gawker sites is the company's latest move to expand its franchise beyond the Spanish-language TV network that it is perhaps most well known for.

In May 2015, Univision acquired The Root, an online publication with a largely African American audience. Then this past January, it bought a large stake in the satirical website, The Onion. And in April it reached an agreement with ABC News to assume sole ownership of Fusion.

ABC News’ Michael Rothman, Meghan Keneally, Susanna Kim, Aaron Katersky and Lesley Messer contributed to this report.

This story has been updated.