Univision Finally Finds Buyer for Gizmodo Media Group
The Hispanic-language giant is selling the brands, acquired from Gawker Media, to Great Hill Partners.
In July 2018, Univision announced plans to explore a sale of the digital media publications it had acquired from Gawker Media and renamed the Gizmodo Media Group. Some nine months later, the company announced Monday that private equity firm Great Hill Partners will buy the digital media group and The Onion, which Univision had also acquired.
The sale price was not disclosed. Univision originally acquired the former Gawker Media publications for $135 million in August 2016, a deal that was seen as a bargain at the time but would be considered less so today.
A new company called G/O Media Inc. will be formed from the sale, including digital media brands like Deadspin, Gizmodo, Jezebel, Lifehacker and The Root, and will be run by media executive Jim Spanfeller, who has invested in the deal.
"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,” said Univision CEO Vincent Sadusky.
He continued: “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.”
Univision management has been tight-lipped throughout the sale process, refusing to confirm a Feb. 15 Wall Street Journal report that the private equity firm had entered into an exclusive negotiating period for the websites.
While the announcement sent out Monday on behalf of Great Hill Partners did not mention the general interest news website Splinter, concerning some employees, a spokesperson for Univision confirmed that the site will be part of the acquisition.
Chris Gaffney, managing partner for Great Hill Partners, said, “From our experience across the digital media landscape, we know it is not every day that an attractive suite of digital media assets becomes available with strong brand recognition among consumers and advertisers, and a set of engaged, vertical audiences which together are larger than Vox, BuzzFeed or Vice. We are excited by growth and see a great opportunity to further scale a high-quality content producer led by an experienced digital media executive like Jim.”
Spanfeller called the new digital media conglomerate "the largest player in our space."
Neither company announced plans for the "synergies" or layoff that typically result from a deal like this, though The Hollywood Reporter has put the question to both. Great Hill Partners describes itself as a "growth-oriented" private equity firm.