A Mineola marketing and communications firm lost its bid Thursday to buy the remaining assets of the bankrupt news and gossip website Gawker.com, a company executive said.
Didit lost out to the $1.35 million bid from entrepreneur Bryan Goldberg, who owns the Bustle Digital Group, a Manhattan publisher that focuses on millennial women. Goldberg was a co-founder of Bleacher Report, a digital sports media business that was sold to Time Warner in 2012 for $175 million, according to published reports.
Didit had emerged as the “stalking horse” bidder after its $1.13 million offer led all offers in an earlier round of bidding. But the plan administrator of the Gawker estate petitioned the bankruptcy court to hold another auction, which took place Thursday.
As the leading bidder, Didit could have raised its price, but it chose not to, said Kevin Lee, the company’s executive chairman. He said Didit would have had to invest $300,000 to $400,000 to recover the site’s visibility, since it hadn’t published anything new in two years. And he cited a Facebook policy change that limited the visibility of news posts.
“At the right price, we would want it, but there was a limit to how much we were going to fight to get it,” Lee said.
Didit would have acquired the domain name Gawker.com, more than 200,000 archived stories and intellectual property such as trademarks. And a winning bid would have allowed the company to re-establish a Gawker.com presence on social media platforms.
Didit had planned to transform Gawker.com into “Gawker for Good,” to focus on “good gossip” and “good news,” and deliver “informative and entertaining“ content about entertainment, sports, gaming and celebrity news.
Gawker was a highly regarded website when it filed for bankruptcy protection in 2016, after pro wrestler Hulk Hogan won a $140 million judgment against it over the posting of a sex tape. In 2016, the Spanish-language media company Univision bought many of the site’s assets at auction.