Gawker's behavior bankrupted Gawker, end of story. Peter Thiel picked up the legal bills so that the person they wronged could afford to sue them.
This is only one of the cases we've heard about. I would not be surprised if Thiel picked up legal bills for every lawsuit against Gawker. Put together, it's a full-on campaign to use the legal system to destroy a company for a personal vendetta. If Thiel didn't like Gawker, he should have sued them.