Gawker Media founder Nick Denton (Photo: Steve Nesius/AP)

Gawker Media filed for bankruptcy protection on Friday, following a series of lawsuits that were secretly funded by billionaire venture capitalist Peter Thiel. In March, Gawker lost one of those suits to former professional wrestler Hulk Hogan, who was awarded a $140 million judgment after a jury ruled that the company had invaded his privacy by publishing his sex tape with his friend’s wife in 2012.

The New York-based media company submitted its paperwork to a U.S. bankruptcy court in New York after a Florida judge declined to issue a stay, which would have allowed Gawker to avoid immediately paying the judgment as it works on an appeal. FORBES first reported last month that early Facebook FB -0.07% investor and board member Thiel had been quietly helping to cover Hogan’s legal fees in an attempt to severely punish or perhaps bring an end to Gawker.

When asked about bankruptcy by FORBES in an interview earlier this month, Gawker CEO and founder Denton said that the company was considering “all its options.” Denton and his family still maintain majority control of Gawker Media. On Friday, the company announced that it entered into an asset purchase agreement with global media firm, Ziff Davis, though other bids may come in a bankruptcy court supervised auction. Multiple outlets reported that Ziff Davis had made an offer of less than $100 million for “seven media brands and other assets.”

“Even with his billions, Thiel will not silence our writers,” Denton tweeted. “Our sites will thrive—under new ownership—and we’ll win in court.”

A spokesperson for Thiel declined to comment.

The Chapter 11 filing should have little immediate impact on the company’s current operations though it adds another twist to a saga that has been full of them. In January, Gawker sold a minority stake to Russian billionaire Viktor Vekselberg and his Columbus Nova Technology Partners in anticipation for the lawsuit from Hogan, whose real name is Terry Bollea. This March, following a two-week trial, a jury awarded Hogan $115 million, an amount that was bolstered by an additional $25 million for punitive damages.

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