Peter Thiel May Be Looking To Buy

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In a federal bankruptcy court filing on Wednesday, lawyers for venture capitalist Peter Thiel objected to the ongoing sale process of, arguing that the billionaire has been unfairly excluded from bidding for the assets of the defunct news website.

The filing, which comes more than a year after the revelation that Thiel had helped finance a clandestine legal war to destroy’s parent company Gawker Media, lays the groundwork for the Facebook board member’s possible bid for the dormant website. While its sister sites were sold to Univision in August 2016 for $135 million following Gawker Media’s bankruptcy, a bankruptcy plan administrator has not been able to find a buyer for Whoever ends up buying the site will also buy its archives, which are still up, and will have the right to do with them what they want, including delete them.

In the filing, Thiel’s lawyers allege that he was prevented from receiving information with regards to a potential bid for by plan administrator William Holden and his counsel Gregg Galardi following a Wall Street Journal story in October that said Holden and Galardi had started to market the website to potential buyers. Holden and Galardi have been “maintaining selective secrecy over that process,” according to Thiel’s lawyers from Skadden, Arps, Slate Meagher & Flom LLP.

“In light of the Plan Administrator’s refusal to allow Mr. Thiel to participate in the sale process, Mr. Thiel’s counsel requested that the Plan Administrator agree to pause the ongoing sale process so that a sale of the assets is not consummated until the issues concerning the Plan Administrator’s blockade of Mr. Thiel as a bidder are resolved,” the filing reads.

A spokesperson for Thiel declined to comment. Holden did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The sale of’s assets — including its domain name, social media channels and 14-year archive — is one of the last chapters of a saga that began with a former professional wrestler Hulk Hogan’s invasion of privacy lawsuit and resulted in Gawker Media’s bankruptcy. In May 2015, Forbes revealed that Thiel, motivated in part by a 2007 Gawker story about his sexuality, had spent millions of dollars funding Hogan’s legal challenge.

Unable to pay the $140 million verdict awarded to Hogan by a Florida jury, Gawker Media filed for bankruptcy and sold most of its sites to Univision last year. Since then, Gawker’s estate administrator and lawyers have been in and out of a federal bankruptcy court in New York, where they’ve ironed out provisions from the sale of Gawker’s assets and sought to open legal discovery into Thiel for his role aiding Hogan’s lawsuit. The Wall Street Journal reported that Holden has been exploring the sale of since July, and that he recently had marketed the site’s potential legal claims against Thiel as part of its appeal.

While rumors had been floating in media circles that Thiel could hypothetically buy and remove its contents from the web, the billionaire has never publicly addressed if he was interested in the site’s assets. Prior to the Gawker Media’s bankruptcy and its loss in the Hogan trial, a banker, who claimed to have the back of at least one Silicon Valley power player had called former Gawker Media employees around January 2016 to discuss the possible buyout of the company, according to Forbes.

Gawker Media founder Nick Denton asked the question in an open letter to Thiel in May 2016. “Is your goal to bankrupt, buy, or wound Gawker Media?” he wrote. “If you were to own the company after a final judgment in the Hogan case, what would your editorial strategy be?”

Thiel never responded publicly, though he reportedly met Denton in an off-the-record meeting in San Francisco that summer.

Some have expressed interest in buying, according to a source familiar with the situation, but legal questions — and threats — remain over the content in its archive. The Thiel-backed lawyer who represented Hogan, Charles Harder, continues to pursue legal claims against’s sister sites, which are now owned by Univision. And while Gawker Media’s former employees are indemnified from future litigation with regards to their old work at the company, any deal for will unlikely be able to protect the buyer from any possible future litigation.

“It would be the responsible thing to do for a new buyer to remove articles from that violate defamation laws, privacy laws or journalism ethics (Google “SPJ Code of Ethics”),” Harder said to Wall Street Journal, referring to the Society of Professional Journalists. “Such articles never should have been published in the first place, and if they were to be removed now, the public, and journalism, would benefit.”

Thiel may be interested in buying to stem any possible legal threats against him or remove content. A 2007 story stating that Thiel is gay still remains online.

“Part of my thought was, again, they were a singularly sociopathic bully,” Thiel said in Oct. 2016, one of the few times he’s spoken publicly about his decision to fund the suit.

Since then, the billionaire has hosted a dinner for Hogan at his home in Los Angeles and given an interview to The New York Times where he spoke a little more about his backing of Hogan.

“It basically stands for the narrow proposition that you should not publish a sex tape,” Mr. Thiel says. “I think that’s an insult to journalists to suggest that’s journalism now. Transparency is good, but at some point it can go in this very toxic direction.”

His spokesperson would not say if he’s interested in buying