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Saturday, August 24, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Business

Univision unloads Gizmodo, The Onion to private equity firm

UPDATED: Mon., April 8, 2019, 4:43 p.m.

A journalist holds a microphone bearing the Univision logo in Los Angeles on June 14, 2006. (Associated Press)
A journalist holds a microphone bearing the Univision logo in Los Angeles on June 14, 2006. (Associated Press)
By Tali Arbel Associated Press

NEW YORK – Univision has sold tech site Gizmodo, satirical-news hub The Onion and other English-language sites to the private equity firm Great Hill Partners. Terms were not disclosed.

The Spanish-language broadcaster bought much of what was then known as Gawker Media for $135 million in 2016 after the gossipy, confrontational media company lost a privacy suit against Hulk Hogan. (The original Gawker.com has a different owner. It is being relaunched by another digital media company, Bustle.)

Just a few years ago, Univision was investing in English-language digital sites aimed at young people. It had bought The Onion in January 2016 and African-American news site The Root in 2015.

But the strategy didn’t turn out well. The sites were not profitable and the company has refocused on Spanish TV. Univision, based in New York, put them up for sale last summer.

Several digital-media companies have recently run into trouble. For example, BuzzFeed laid off workers to help it become profitable, while Mic sold itself to Bustle after firing most of its employees. The online-ad business is dominated by tech giants Google and Facebook. Amazon is also encroaching on that space.

Great Hill said Monday that it’s calling its new media company “G/O Media.” The collection of sites also includes the female-focused Jezebel, sports site Deadspin and pop-culture site “A.V. Club.” James Spanfeller, a digital-media veteran who is the former Forbes.com CEO, will lead the company and is also a “significant” investor in it.

Great Hill has previously invested in media companies, including Ziff Davis, the publisher of PCMag.com, which it sold in 2012.

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