So here is an intriguing media rumor: Rupert Murdoch is angling to purchase Gawker Media. Yesterday, at least two media reporters approached at least two Gawker Media employees about a potential sale to Murdoch’s News Corp—or, more likely, 21st Century Fox. Apparently the rumor was first posted to Secret, the anonymous messaging smartphone app, though we couldn’t find a copy of the actual post. Efforts to determine the rumor’s origin came up empty.
In an email to Gawker management obtained by Gawker, VP of Operations Scott Kidder strongly denied the alleged sale: “For the record: we are not selling to News Corp.” Kidder then kidded: “Or, if we are, it’s news to me!”
So who’s posting to Secret about this alleged sale? And is it true?
Rumors of Gawker Media’s sale have dogged its publisher and owner, Nick Denton, since he founded the blogging empire in 2002 with the launch of Gawker and Gizmodo. Denton has strenuously resisted potential buyers, citing his desire to preserve the company’s editorial freedom.
The most recent rumor coincides with Denton’s return to daily operations at Gawker Media, following his wedding on May 31 and a three-week-long honeymoon in Laos with his husband, the actor Derrence Washington. (Laos is a “longstanding regional partner” of Rupert Murdoch’s country of birth, Australia.) Denton was seen exiting his company’s NoLIta headquarters around 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday with another Gawker employee. “I think I am going to buy a scooter,” he was overheard saying.
We have invited Nick Denton and a spokesperson for News Corp to discuss the rumor in the public forum below. If you’ve got a screenshot of the Secret post, put it up!
[Art by Jim Cooke]