In House - The FindLaw Corporate Counsel Blog

Buying the Crushed Remains of Your Adversary

Billionaire venture capitalist Peter Thiel is making people wonder about whether it is morally (and legally) okay to purchase the crushed remains of your former legal adversary.

Thiel has been making headlines over his desire to purchase Gawker, whom he played a large part in destroying. He did so by funding the Hulk Hogan sex-tape lawsuit, which resulted in a verdict and settlement in 2016 which basically ended the internet media company.

Why Buy Your Adversary?

It doesn't take much thought to speculate as to Thiel's motives, which he has not commented on after making his bid. Thiel was outed as gay by Gawker in 2007, and rumor has it that he has held a grudge (i.e. he funded the Hulkster's litigation just to spite the website). Gawker has published several critical articles about Thiel as well.

In addition to Thiel's apparent personal vendetta, there may be a legal claim against Thiel stemming from his involvement in destroying Gawker. If he is able to purchase Gawker, he could potentially prevent a potential subsequent action against him from ever moving forward. Given that the website is now only valued at a few million, Thiel likely sees purchasing it as the most economical way to avoid future liability, and not to mention, finally and fully crush a company that crossed him.

Can Thiel Really Buy Gawker?

Currently, Gawker is in bankruptcy and is selling off assets. And, as noted by Bloomberg, Thiel's purchase would likely benefit the Hulk as Gawker's largest creditor. Also, the federal bankruptcy judge ruled that even if Thiel purchases Gawker, the investigation into his involvement with toppling Gawker cannot be stopped. It is very likely that Thiel, even given his history with Gawker and reputation as a confused conservative tech bro, will be able to purchase the crushed remains of Gawker, even if it is just to further dismantle his one time nemesis.

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