No Joke: Hispanic TV’s Univision Buys Stake in ‘The Onion’

the onion

As much as it may seem a set-up for a joke, the Spanish-language news channel Univisión has bought a significant share in the satirical journal The Onion.

The news appeared on Univision’s website Tuesday, announcing that the Hispanic media giant Univision Communications Inc (UCI), Hispanic America’s largest media company, is now a “minority investor” in Onion Inc., described as “the nation’s leading comedy and news satire brand.”

Onion CEO Mike McAvoy told employees that Univision has acquired “a good chunk” of the company and may buy the rest later.

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Univision explained that the investment in The Onion broadened its “multicultural, digital footprint” and especially its reach with a highly coveted millennial audience.

The Hispanic television company eagerly eyed the more than 25 million engaged monthly unique visitors on Onion’s platform as a way to penetrate a market that was escaping it.

The Onion will continue to operate independently, “maintaining the integrity of the brand and editorial voice,” though Univision will now have oversight the company.

Univision announced it would work with Onion to explore new content opportunities, including short- and long-form formats for each Onion brand across digital and linear mediums.

“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,” Lee said.

“Onion Inc. has remained successful by putting editorial first,” said Mike McAvoy, president and chief executive officer at Onion Inc. “We’re excited to partner with Univision, a company that understands and appreciates that foundation, and that can provide additional resources, expertise, and opportunity for our talented staff.”

Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter @tdwilliamsrome