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Gawker Reaches Settlement in Hulk Hogan Case: Founder

The settlement "allows us all to move on, and focus on activities more productive than endless litigation"

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    Nick Denton, founder and CEO of Gawker, talks with his legal team before Terry Bollea, the wrestler Hulk Hogan, testifies in court during his trial against Gawker Media at the Pinellas County Courthouse on March 8, 2016, in St Petersburg, Florida.

    Gawker.com, the brash New York website, has reached a settlement in the legal case brought by former wrestler Hulk Hogan, according to the site's founder and CEO.

    Nick Denton wrote Wednesday that the site's four-year legal "saga" is over, ending the company's appeal of a $140 million judgment against Denton and the site for publishing a video of Hogan having sex with a friend's wife. 

    It had already shut down earlier this year after operating for 14 years. Gawker's gossipy coverage of media, culture and politics changed the online news landscape, but it couldn't weather the lawsuit brought by Hogan, whose real name is Terry Bollea, and backed by billionaire PayPal founder Peter Thiel.

    Gawker's parent company has already been sold to Spanish-language broadcaster Univision, along with several of its sister websites, including Deadspin.com and Jezebel.com.

    Writing on blogging platform Medium, Denton didn't give many details on the settlement, though he said it "allows us all to move on, and focus on activities more productive than endless litigation."

    Court documents reportedly revealed the case was settled for $31 million, according to CNBC

    Additionally, Denton said stories about Hogan, a person who said he invented email, and a feud between two founders of the dating app Tinder are being removed from the web.

    All of the stories were true, Denton said, calling that part of the deal "the most unpalatable." 

    "Yes, we were confident the appeals court would reduce or eliminate the runaway Florida judgment against Gawker, the writer of the Hogan story and myself personally," Denton said. "And we expected to prevail in those other two lawsuits by clients of Charles Harder, the lawyer backed by Peter Thiel. But all-out legal war with Thiel would have cost too much, and hurt too many people, and there was no end in sight."

    Gawker Media went into bankruptcy protection after the verdict was reached in a Florida court in March. Denton, an outspoken former Financial Times journalist, also declared personal bankruptcy as a result of the Hogan case.

    Thiel has said he bankrolled the Hogan lawsuit as a way to end its "incredibly damaging way of getting attention by bullying people even when there was no connection with the public interest," he told The New York Times in May.