New media baron Nick Denton is taking on tech baron Peter Thiel. The Gawker CEO appeared on CNBC's "Squawk Box" Friday morning to confess he was "slightly impressed" by the PayPal founder's plot to secretly bankroll major lawsuits and put Gawker out of business.

"It's kind of like a 'Count of Monte Cristo' revenge fantasy for billionaires," Denton said.

Thiel's vendetta against Gawker dates back to 2007, when the media-gossip site attempted to out him as gay (both Denton and the author of that story are gay). The tech lord also described Gawker's onetime tech blog as "the Silicon Valley equivalent of al Qaeda."

Long rumored but reported by Forbes, Thiel's financing of Hulk Hogan's recent $140 million suit against Gawker is now the talk of the town, and Denton is on the offensive. On Thursday, Denton published an open letter to Thiel listing several other people suing Gawker who were represented by Hogan's counsel Charles Harder.

"It becomes a story about the power of the billionaire class, particularly the power of the billionaire class in Silicon Valley," he told CNBC. "They have money. They have wealth. They have anonymity. They have special-purpose vehicles. They have offshore accounts."

"They are exercising their power from behind the scenes," he added. "I think it's more important than ever that there be an independent media to hold them to account."

Watch the interview below: