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Judge approves Univision’s bid to buy Gawker Media

Univision’s Fusion Media Group, comprised of several English-language websites, will add Gawker Media to its roster.
Univision’s Fusion Media Group, comprised of several English-language websites, will add Gawker Media to its roster. FUSION

A New York City judge has approved a bid by Univision Communications Inc. to acquire Gawker Media for $135 million.

The decision was announced Thursday, just hours after Gawker.com revealed it would permanently cease publication next week.

The 14-year-old website lost a $140 million invasion-of-privacy lawsuit filed by wrestler Terry Bollea, aka Hulk Hogan, over the publication of a leaked sex tape. Gawker filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in June.

Univision outbid Ziff Davis, its only rival in an auction for Gawker Media’s assets, on Tuesday.

Those assets include the sports-oriented Deadspin; the women’s-interest site Jezebel; the technology hub Gizmodo; the videogame forum Kotaku; the automobile news site Jalopnik; and the general tips site Lifehacker. Gawker.com’s current staff will be reassigned to other roles within those six sites or elsewhere within Univision.

The acquisition is the latest move by Univision to add established English-language news and culture sites to its Fusion Media Group. The portfolio, which is anchored by Fusion and includes The Onion, The AV Club, The Root and Fusion, had a combined reach of 65.6 million visitors in May.

“Fusion Media Group is focused on serving America’s diverse youth with digital-first brands that reflect their values and passions, authentically,” Univision’s chief news, entertainment and digital officer Isaac Lee said in an email statement. “I expect the addition of these digital-first media assets will help FMG exceed the demands of the young, cross-cultural influencers we serve.”

Univision is in the process of preparing its initial public offering later this year. The network has been aggressively courting the ethnically diverse U.S. millennial audience as a way of ensuring its future growth. According to the tracking site comScore, more than half of Gawker Media’s audience is under the age of 35.

Rene Rodriguez: 305-376-3611, @ReneMiamiHerald

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