A jury awarded Hulk Hogan a total of $140 million in his lawsuit against digital publisher Gawker Media, which posted a video of Hogan having sex with his friend’s wife.
Gawker’s head honcho Nick Denton has said such a loss would cripple and probably sink his site. Gawker Media, which owns the gossip site Gawker and several other websites, is appealing the judgment, but experts say if they lose, that could be it for the once influential brand.
"If Gawker is unable to win on appeal and can’t settle for a lower amount, they will probably go bankrupt," said New York based attorney Lance Fletcher.
But it could take years before the matter is closed either way.
"Gawker will probably appeal on several different grounds and they will probably appeal each issue one at a time to a higher and higher court. This is a common strategy after a verdict like this because you may be able to the appeal for years,” Fletcher explained. “During this appeals process, Gawker could reopen negotiations to try to settle for a lower amount than the jury verdict. It’s a way of basically saying, we’re going to keep appealing this outcome or you can settle right now for X."
Depending on what investors think of Gawker’s chances in the appeals process, Jonas Ferris, Investment Advisor at MAXadvisor LLC, says Gawker could live on.
“They are and can continue to raise money but investors will own more of the company,” Ferris said. “As long as the company is worth more to investors than the liabilities they should survive.”
Guess who agrees with Ferris? Hogan’s lawyer, David Houston.
“We sincerely doubt Gawker is done -- cheap drama to gain public sympathy,” he said. “ In reality, we believe Gawker’s presumed parent company can ride to the rescue if Gawker is deemed worthy of the effort. That is clearly their choice not ours.”
Gawker did not respond to FOX411 for comment.
Fox News.com Reporter and FOX411 host Diana Falzone covers celebrity news and interviews some of today's top celebrities and newsmakers. You can follow her on Twitter @dianafalzone.