Nick Denton's new $200k-a-year gig? Not working

The Gawker founder says he's "getting out of the news and gossip business" as his financial situation looks precarious...

Nick Denton's new $200k-a-year gig? Not working

Picture by: Steve Nesius / AP/Press Association Images

Now that Gawker Media has been sold to Univision in a $135 million deal and Gawker.com officially called it a day on Monday, the majority of its staff are moving to new jobs at the rescued likes of Jezebel and Deadspin.

Founder Nick Denton, however, declared in his site's final post that he would not be going with his colleagues.

As part of the Univision deal, Denton will in fact be paid not to work.

He has agreed not to "associate with any business enterprise" that operates in the gossip site's old territory. For doing so, the 50-year-old Brit will receive roughly $200,000 annually – or more specifically $16,666 per month – for two years.

While that would seem like an attractive proposition for most, it is a significant step-down from the $500,000 the Wall Street Journal had him earning during his time at the helm of Gawker.

Then you have to factor in how Hulk Hogan's legal triumph over the company – after a battle funded by billionaire Peter Thiel – will affect Denton on a financial level.

Denton himself is personally liable for some $10m of the judgment and jointly liable for a further $115m.

He also has mortgage repayments of $15,000 per month taking up a large chunk of his earnings.

The New York Post reported that he has lined up a potential tenant who is willing to pay $12,500 per month to rent his $4.2m in the Manhattan neighbourhood of SoHo.

An appeal over the verdict in the Bollea v. Gawker case is in the works.

If Hogan sees his reward reduced, or the case is overturned, Denton will be in line to recover a large amount from the Univision purchase. That $135m is currently being held in a fund to cover legal fees.

In a post entitled How Things Work, Denton wrote:

"Peter Thiel has achieved his objectives. His proxy, Terry Bollea, also known as Hulk Hogan, has a claim on the company and my personal assets after winning a $140 million trial court judgment in his Florida privacy case.

"Even if that decision is reversed or reduced on appeal, it is too late for Gawker itself. Its former editor, who wrote the story about Hogan, has a $230 million hold on his checking account.

"The flagship site, a magnet for most of the lawsuits marshaled by Peter Thiel’s lawyer, has for most media companies become simply too dangerous to own. Peter Thiel has gotten away with what would otherwise be viewed as an act of petty revenge by reframing the debate on his terms.

"Having spent years on a secret scheme to punish Gawker’s parent company and writers for all manner of stories, Thiel has now cast himself as a billionaire privacy advocate, helping others whose intimate lives have been exposed by the press. It is canny positioning against a site that touted the salutary effects of gossip and an organization that practiced radical transparency."

"As former Gawker developer Dustin Curtis says, 'Though I find the result abhorrent, this is one of the most beautiful checkmates of all time by Peter Thiel.'"