Gizmodo Media Group, The Onion Inc. Sold To Great Hills Partners

This morning, Univision Communications Inc. closed a deal with private-equity firm Great Hill Partners to sell Gizmodo Media Group and The Onion Inc. Terms were not disclosed.

But according to sources who spoke to The Wall Street Journal, the deal was likely well under the $135 million Univision paid for the brands in 2016.

"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," Vince Sadusky, CEO Univision, stated.

The portfolio, which includes websites GizmodoJezebelDeadspinLifehackerSplinterThe RootKotakuEartherJalopnikThe OnionClickholeThe A.V. Club and The Takeout, will be folded into a new company called G/O Media Inc.



The collection of sites counted 67 million visitors in February, per Comscore.

G/O Media is reported to have agreed to recognize the group’s union’s collective bargaining agreement. 

The G/O Media brands will operate as independent assets under Great Hill Partners, reports The Wall Street Journal. The new company will be led by Jim Spanfeller, who has worked at Forbes.comPC Magazine and RealClearPolitics.

Spanfeller has a long history in digital media, including time as chairman of the Interactive Advertising Bureau and a longtime board member of Digital Content Next. He founded Spanfeller Media Group, owner of The Daily Meal and The Active Times, which were later acquired by Tribune Publishing. 

Spanfeller stated: "This opportunity 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.”

According to The WSJ, Spanfeller sees promise in the portfolio’s ability to monetize itself, based on its audience size and across ecommerce and programmatic opportunities. In his new role, Spanfeller looks to deepen the company’s profits through automated advertising sales to marketers looking for brand-safe content and high-quality audiences.

He also plans to offer premium paid content, the source told the WSJ.

In an email to G/O staffers published by New York’s Intelligencer, Spanfeller outlined his set of values for the new company. He wrote:

"We are action-oriented. When faced with an option of action vs. in-action, we always choose to DO SOMETHING.

· We believe in our people. We respect our teammates. We know that if they “do something” they will, much more often than not, DO THE RIGHT THING.

· We are ambitious. Both as a company and as individuals. We want our people to always be looking to take the next step up in everything they and we do. To BE GOAL-ORIENTED.

·  We respect and value our customers. Without visitors, we would have no marketing partners, without marketing partners we could not serve our users. To protect both of these very important groups we do business WITH THE HIGHEST LEVELS OF INTEGRITY. In how we deliver content and in how we conduct our day to day business activities.

· We want our work environment to be one where people can BE PASSIONATE AND HAVE FUN."

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