Gawker Agrees to Take Outside Investment

Nick Denton (Photo: Patrick McMullan)

Nick Denton (Photo: Patrick McMullan)

Gawker Media has reached an agreement to sell a minority stake in the company as it prepares for the long-awaited Hulk Hogan  trial. The investment from Columbus Nova Technology Partners marks the first time in the privately-owned media company’s history that it is taking outside money.

“After investing, Columbus Nova Technology Partners will have a minority shareholding and one of five seats on Gawker Media Group’s board of directors,” Gawker founder and CEO Nick Denton wrote in a memo that went out to staff this afternoon. “Columbus Nova is fully committed to the editorial integrity that underpins the audience appeal of GMG brands.”

According to the memo, the deal is expected to close tomorrow after a meeting of Gawker’s shareholders.

“The company has been to this point owned predominantly by founders, journalists and other current and former employees — and our families,” . “The funding will strengthen GMG’s financial reserves as we prepare for trial this March in Hulk Hogan’s $100 million invasion of privacy lawsuit, in which we are defending our right to report truthfully on the conduct of public figures.”

Last summer, in advance of the trial, which was originally scheduled for July, Gawker released internal financial details that showed that the company made $44.3 million of revenue in 2014 and had steady, if not amazing, growth over the previous five years. Still, Mr. Denton voiced concern about the financial future of the company in the face of the Hogan lawsuit.

Since then, the company has faced a turbulent period, which culminated in staff turnover, and a well-publicized shift away from gossip and clickbait to politics for its flagship site.

Gawker Agrees to Take Outside Investment