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Gawker Pays Hulk Hogan $31 Million to Settle Sex Tape Suit

Gawker founder and former CEO Nick Denton said in a blog post that the media company is settling its case with Hulk Hogan.

Denton did not disclose the terms of the settlement. However, the case was settled for $31 million cash plus a portion of some Gawker media proceeds including its $135 million sale to Univision, according to court documents. The litigation had been financed by tech entrepreneur Peter Thiel, who had been outed as gay nine years ago by Gawker.

"It's a shame the Hogan trial took place without the motives of the plaintiff's backer being known," Denton wrote. "If there is a lasting legacy from this experience, it should be a new awareness of the danger of dark money in litigation finance. And that's surely in the spirit of the transparency Gawker was founded to promote. As for Peter Thiel himself, he is now for a wider group of people to contemplate."

In a statement to CNBC, Thiel said, "It is a great day for Terry Bollea and a great day for everyone's right to privacy."

Hogan [Terry Bollea] sued Gawker, Denton and writer A.J. Daulerio for posting a sex tape featuring him, citing emotional distress. A Florida jury awarded the celebrity $140 million in damages in June.

"It's less about revenge and more about specific deterrence," Thiel previously told CNBC about his backing of the lawsuit. "I saw Gawker pioneer a unique and incredibly damaging way of getting attention by bullying people even when there was no connection with the public interest."

Related: Thiel Won the Battle but Not the War, Says Denton

Denton wrote that while the company was "confident" an appeals court would reduce the multimillion-dollar settlement, ultimately, he, Gawker and Daulerio would not be able to fund a prolonged legal battle.

"For Thiel, an investor in Facebook and Palantir, the cost of this exercise is less than 1 percent of his net worth and a little additional notoriety," Denton wrote. "The other protagonists — including Hulk Hogan and A.J. Daulerio, the author of the Gawker story about him — had much more at stake. That motivated a settlement that allows us all to move on, and focus on activities more productive than endless litigation. Life is short, for most of us."

Gawker.com launched in 2003 and quickly became known for its no-holds barred journalism and snarky commentary, which often got it and its other properties in trouble. Because of the Hogan lawsuit, the media company declared bankruptcy in June.

It was later acquired by Univision for $135 million in August. Flagship property Gawker.com shut down operations after 14 years that month, but its websites including Gizmodo, Jalopnik, Jezebel, Deadspin, Lifehacker and Kotaku still currently publish.

Denton said he was "still convinced that the internet can bring people together in shared understanding rather than just triggering conflict between them." Univision would continue to employ those who had previously worked for Gawker Media, he confirmed. He also said he hoped Daulerio's abilities would "once again be appreciated" and that the stigma over writers Sam Biddle and John Cook, who had also had pending lawsuits, would be lifted.