Univision Buys Minority Stake in The Onion

Courtesy of The Onion
The Onion published its last print edition in 2013.

The Spanish-language media giant calls the deal a "complementary extension" of its Spanish- and English-language digital portfolio and a boost to its reach of the millennial audience.

Univision Communications said Tuesday it has made a minority investment in Onion Inc., the media company behind satirical The Onion. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

"The Onion is a complementary extension of UCI’s Spanish- and English-language digital portfolio, broadening the company’s multicultural, digital footprint and its reach with a highly coveted millennial audience," Univision said. "With more than 25 million engaged monthly uniques on Onion Inc.’s platform, UCI will expand its overall digital presence in multicultural, millennial-focused content with this transaction."

Onion Inc. brands include The Onion; The A.V. Club, which features pop-culture commentary, interviews, reviews and other entertainment-related content; ClickHole, a satire on such websites as BuzzFeed; StarWipe, which calls itself “the most trusted source in the completely untrustworthy realm of celebrity gossip”; and digital video network Onion Studios, which combines programming from the company’s brands and original series.

The New York Times reported that Univision acquired a 40 percent stake, valued at less than $200 million, citing a person briefed on the deal.

While Onion Inc. will operate independently, "maintaining the integrity of the brand and editorial voice," the companies said Univision will have oversight of Onion Inc. "to leverage Univision Digital’s distribution, resources and media expertise to expand the exposure of the brand."

“Comedy is playing an expanding role in our culture as a vehicle for audiences to explore, debate, and understand the important ideas of our time,” said Isaac Lee, chief news and digital officer of Univision and CEO of Fusion. “It has also proven to be an incredibly engaging format for millennial audiences, and is expected to play a key part in the 2016 presidential election process via our robust content offerings in Spanish and English. The Onion has been, and continues to be, a leading force of this phenomenon of intellectual, social, cultural and satirical commentary online."

He added: "As we did with the acquisition of The Root in 2015, with Onion Inc. we are expanding our role as a go-to source for digitally connected, diverse audiences. Including Onion Inc. as part of our portfolio is a great fit for and a significant step forward in our digital strategy as we continue to expand the ways we entertain and inform millennial and multicultural audiences.”