Plans call for GMG and The Onion to form a new company named G/O Media, which will operate as independent assets within the Great Hill Partners portfolio.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed. In August 2016, after the Gawker sites had to declare bankruptcy after losing a libel lawsuit to Hulk Hogan, Univision paid $135 million to acquire the portfolio. Earlier in 2016, it paid $27 million for a stake in The Onion.
The digital moves were initiated by the company’s previous management regime, led by former CEO Randy Falco, who steered the company in a broader direction. Vince Sadusky, who took over as CEO last summer, made plans to sell off the English-language sites a cornerstone of his efforts to refocus the strategy on Hispanic viewers.
The GMG digital portfolio includes Gizmodo, Jezebel, Deadspin, Lifehacker, Splinter, The Root, Kotaku, Earther, and Jalopnik. The Onion portfolio includes The Onion, Clickhole, The A.V. Club, and The Takeout.
“Today’s announcement is the culmination of a very thorough process, as part of Univision’s broader strategic realignment and return to its core strengths in Hispanic media and marketing,” Sadusky said in a press release. “Our aim from the outset of this process was to sell these assets as one, and we are pleased to have found a terrific buyer in Great Hill Partners that is committed to growing these properties. We are grateful to our colleagues at GMG and The Onion for all of their high-quality journalism and achievements as part of our company and we wish them and Great Hill Partners tremendous success.”
Jim Spanfeller, a veteran digital executive who will lead G/O Media, said the transaction comes “at a time when the entire digital media category is beginning to be recognized again for its unique ability to meet the diverse content and delivery needs of consumers and advertisers.”
Morgan Stanley served as financial advisor to Univision in connection with the sale.
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