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Gawker and Hulk Hogan in settlement talks ahead of auction: WSJ

Nick Denton, founder of Gawker, talks with his legal team before Terry Bollea, aka Hulk Hogan, testifies in court during his trial against Gawker Media at the Pinellas County Courthouse on March 8, 2016.
John Pend | Graft-Pool |Getty Images

Gawker Media Group is in early talks with former professional wrestler Hulk Hogan, over the settlement of a $140 million privacy invasion judgment that has forced the online news company into bankruptcy, The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday.

The discussions come a week ahead of a court auction that will see Gawker's founder Nick Denton lose control of the media company, two people familiar with the matter told the Journal.

The sources added that similar talks had taken place in the past and fallen through, and it was unclear if the latest round of talks would actually lead to a settlement.

A spokeswoman for Terry Bollea, better known by his wrestling moniker Hulk Hogan, couldn't immediately be reached by the Journal for comment. In a statement to the Journal, Gawker said: "We've been hearing these rumblings many times over the years when the judge ordered settlement discussions, and you know where we are now despite that."

A settlement would not prevent the bankruptcy auction from taking place, but it could limit the damages on Gawker after it is sold and offer Bollea a chance to cash in before the appeal court's ruling.

Bollea had filed and won a lawsuit against Gawker, after the online news and blog network company released a sex tape involving Bollea.

Gawker Media, which owns, Deadspin, Gizmodo and Jezebel, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in June.

To read the full Wall Street Journal article, click here.

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