The jury has awarded compensatory damages to Hulk Hogan in the amount of $115 million dollars in his suit against Gawker, who published part of a sex tape between Hogan and the wife of his best friend, Bubba the Love Sponge. Next week, the jury will decide on punitive claims. Gawker has said they will appeal the decision. They can do that but if they do, they have to give Hogan a $50 million dollar check first. If Gawker does not have the $50 million, and they probably don’t, Gawker can ask for a stay or a lowering of the bond check.
The Gawker posted a two minute clip of sex between Hogan and Heather Cole. Both Cole and Hogan say they did not know they were being video taped. An expert explains why this could close Gawker down for good:
COULD THE HULK HOGAN CASE BE THE END OF GAWKER?
Gawker will be expected to pay at least $50million while they appeal the Jury’s $115million dollar verdict plus punitive damages to be decided next week. The $50million is due about a month from when the punitive damages are decided.
Gawker had an annual net worth of $44million in 2014 which is less than the amount they are expected to set aside, according to Heavy.com.
The yearly revenue makes Gawker worth at least $250million, according to Business Insider. That gave Gawker an operating profit of $6.5 million in 2014.
According to Heavy, Gawker’s revenue comes from a combination of traditional advertising and e-commerce.
If Gawker cannot afford the bond, then they can still ask the courts to grant a stay or to lower the bond. The decision will be up to the court’s discretion, according to Capital New York.
In Preparation for the Hulk Hogan trail, Gawker sold a minorty stake in their company to Columbus Nova giving the technology company veto power over Gawker’s decisions. The exact stake was not revealed because of the trial but Nova’s managing director Jason Epstein now has a seat on Gawker’s board of directors.
A leaked internal memo showed that Gawker was trying to ‘bulk up its war chest’ in the days leading up to the defamation lawsuit.
‘It’s about putting Hogan behind us, and the future ahead of us,’ Gawker founder Nick Denton told Fortune.
Legal experts told Fortune the suit could substantially impact Gawker back when the company was forced to reckon with Hogan’s lawsuit when it was just $100 million.
Bubba and Heather say they had an open marriage but the revealed sex tape led to a divorce for Hogan based on his infidelity. There is no limit on the amount the jury awards Hogan for punitive damages. Gawker has a net worth of 250 million dollars based on previous years of income.