Gawker has lost more than $150 million in value since January 2015, according to financial data released during wrestler Hulk Hogan’s successful lawsuit against the company.
According to USA today, the company is today estimated to be valued at $83 million total. This is down from an estimated value of $250 million in January 2015, representing a decline in value of approximately $167 million.
— David Auerbach (@AuerbachKeller) March 22, 2016
The precipitous decline in Gawker’s finances means that the company could be crippled by the $140 million award it will have to pay to Hulk Hogan if the company loses on appeal.
On Monday, the court awarded Hogan a further $25 million in punitive damages over Gawker’s publication of a snippet of the wrestler’s sex tape in 2012, taking the total fine up to $140 million from $115 million.
Gawker’s lawyers made a failed attempt to persuade the jury not to increase the penalty on Monday. “$115 million is punishment enough,” said attorney Michael Berry, acknowledging that last week’s verdict was “already financially devasting” to the company.
The company is exploring a number of options to limit the financial damage caused by Hogan’s lawsuit. Gawker hopes that the case will be overturned on appeal and is also pursuing the option of remittitur, which would reduce its overall fine.
Obtaining remittitur will depend on whether Gawker’s lawyers can convince the court that the financial penalty is an excessive punishment. Hogan’s lawyers insist that the blogging company has enough money to pay the wrestler, pointing to Gawker’s parent company, CMGI, which is worth $276 million. Nick Denton, the founder of Gawker, is estimated to be worth $121 million.
However, Gawker’s lawyers say that CMGI is not a party to the case, while Denton’s net worth without his stake in the company is supposedly a mere $3.6 million.
Whether Gawker gets out of its current mess or not, it makes the seven-figure sum it lost to GamerGate seem like peanuts in comparison.