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Gawker Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy After $140 Million Hulk Hogan Verdict

Ruling against media company was upheld in May

Gawker Media filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Friday, months after being hit with a $140 million verdict in the lawsuit brought against it by Hulk Hogan.

The papers, filed in New York, list Gawker’s assets between just over $50 million and $100 million, and its liabilities between just over $100 million and $500 million. The number of estimated creditors is listed as between 200 and 999.

Gawker Media will now be put up for auction, with an opening bid of $100 million from the digital media company and publisher Ziff Davis LLC, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The bankruptcy papers note that Gawker’s authorized officers have received the go-ahead “to commence the process of marketing and selling the assets of the Company.”

The biggest creditor by far listed in the papers is Terry Bollea, a.k.a. pro wrestling legend Hulk Hogan, who the papers say is owed $130 million, though that debt is disputed.

The second largest creditor is the law firm  Morrison Cohen LLP, with $115,379.48 owed.

In March, a jury awarded Hogan $115 million in compensatory damages, after the wrestler sued Gawker for publishing portions of a sex tape featuring Hogan and the then-wife of radio DJ Todd “Bubba the Love Sponge” Clem. An additional $25 million in punitive damages was tacked on shortly thereafter.

Hogan had argued that Gawker’s publication of the sex-tape footage violated his privacy.

In May, a judge upheld the verdict, denying Gawker’s request to reduce the damages.

The ruling upholding the verdict came shortly after reports that Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel, whom Gawker attempted to out as gay in 2007, has been funding Hulk Hogan‘s legal actions against the blog network.

Gawker is appealing that lawsuit.

Hogan has filed a second suit against Gawker, claiming that the site leaked a sealed transcript from the tape, in which the wrestler can be heard making racist statements. The WWE severed ties with Hogan after the comments were made public.

Gawker denies the allegation.

A spokesperson for Gawker has not yet responded to TheWrap’s request for comment on the bankruptcy filing.

Earlier this month, TheWrap exclusively reported that Gawker has received multiple acquisition bids of $100 million or more.

Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.

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