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Media giant Ziff Davis says “we hate money”…

Ziff-Davis has announced to investors “we hate money” and has decided to flush $100 million down the toilet by purchasing the poison brand “Gawker“.

What I love about capitalism is that it eventually punishes stupidity, unless said ‘capitalists’ have some sweetheart deal with a government, that is 😀

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16 comments to Media giant Ziff Davis says “we hate money”…

  • Mr Ed

    The article refers to Gawker as ‘GMG”, ‘Gawker Media Group’. Perhaps the buyer confused it with the slightly less worthless but less likeable Guardian Media Group?

  • Heh. That would be like someone purchasing London Bridge and thinking they were buying Tower Bridge… 😉

    But I would actually argue that Gawker Media Group is more vile and less likeable than Guardian Media Group. Shocking I know.

  • Schrodinger's Dog

    Mr. Ed,

    That does happen. Just before Twitter had its initial public offering, a number of people bought worthless shares in Tweeter, a bankrupt hi-fi retailer.

  • Laird

    To return to the substance of the post, in summary this is an outcome much to be celebrated. It is the culmination of the lawsuit brought by Hulk Hogan (and secretly financed by Peter Thiel) which resulted in a $140 million defamation judgment that has effective put Gawker out of business. A most excellent outcome.

    Ziff Davis very carefully bought only the assets of GMC, not the company itself, and the sale is being conducted under the auspices of the bankruptcy court*, so Z-D will be insulated from any future liability in the event of other such lawsuits over prior Gawker actions. The physical assets clearly have some value, as do the intellectual ones if they are in better (i.e., more capable and less reprehensible) hands. The assets reportedly include 7 “media brands”, so obviously there are some brands other than “Gawker” itself. It could be that there is where most of the value lies. And who knows, perhaps Z-D will be able to rehabilitate Gawker itself and operate its “gossip column” website in a more responsible and acceptable manner (and if it doesn’t, future litigants will have much deeper pockets to go after!). Clearly there is a market for that stuff. So I think that the headline for this post is a trifle unfair.

    This is precisely how the capitalist system is supposed to work: a badly-run company fails and its assets find their way into more competent hands. If only the Government General Motors bankruptcy had been permitted to operate in this way.

    * Why this is being done under Chapter 11 (which is for restructurings) rather than Chapter 7 (which is for liquidations) I can’t imagine, but that’s what’s being reported.

  • And who knows, perhaps Z-D will be able to rehabilitate Gawker itself

    My view is Gawker is a poison brand. They might as well buy the right to use the “Der Stürmer” brand and re-purpose it as a place to advertise for photographers and caterers aimed at the bar mitzvah market.

  • Sam Duncan

    The assets reportedly include 7 “media brands”, so obviously there are some brands other than “Gawker” itself.

    Lifehacker is one, and it seems to be relatively respectable. On the other hand, among gamers, Kotaku’s reputation is arguably even worse than its erstwhile parent’s.

    I suspect Z-D had its eye on a particular selection of those brands – Jalopnik, the car site, might be another salvageable one, from what I know of it – but obviously the headline was going to be “Ziff-Davis Buys Gawker”.

  • “On the other hand, among gamers, Kotaku’s reputation is arguably even worse than its erstwhile parent’s”

    No “arguably” about it. If Gawker is pile of poop, Kotaku is a pile of fluorescent radioactive poop to gamers. Kotaku is a publication that writes about games for people who actually hate people who play games.

  • TRX

    Back before most people had heard of “the internet” Ziff-Davis bought a number of magazines I had subscribed to for many years. It only took a few months before they ruined them all. I let my subscriptions expire. Most of the titles faded away years ago, so apparently I wasn’t the only one.

    Their online antics haven’t been much better. Based on their record, I think ZD is institutionally blind to the very products they’re trying to sell.

  • Watchman

    Presumably Ziff-Davis (am I the only one here who thinks of the Simpsons in this context?) are capable of making money somewhere, even if it is only by buying up brands and exploiting them till they die, a perfectly legitimate activity. What they are probably not planning to add is value (added through innovation), so my guess is they are going to aim to keep all the brands going as long as possible and making what they can from them.

  • Certainly Jezebel is one of the Gawker Media Groups products that I was hoping would die the death of a thousand cuts with the Hulk Hogan / Peter Thiel lawsuit.

    If they survive the collapse I shall be annoyed.

  • Feathering Gauntly in a Dainty Dress

    Kotaku vs. Jezebel. Stone the crows, which is worse? As an xx chromosome gamer, it’s a bit like evaluating the relative awfulness of explosive diarrhoea vs projectile vomiting. Or would you rather have your boob chewed off by a shark or a crocodile?

  • Fen Tiger

    Scott Adams has a view on this.

  • Cheers, Fen Tiger, that is simply… perfect.

  • jsallison

    Haven’t viewed a Z-D pub in probably 15 years. Gawker? wuzzat? I’ll sleep comfortably tonight in my continued ignorance.

  • jsallison

    OTOH I recently consumed whole Foyle’s War via Netflix. Given how he left the scene at the end of the last season I ‘spect it won’t be back, and I’ll miss it. My three favorite series, Foyle’s War, Longmire (on Netflix) and the continuation of Jezza, the Hamster and Cpt Slowly (on Amazon, without even seeing, yet) don’t bode well for broadcast, cable, or satellite.