Private equity firm Great Hill Partners has purchased Gizmodo Media Group and the Onion from Univision after the company bought the former Gawker Media in bankruptcy.
Gizmodo Media Group currently consists of websites Gizmodo, Kotaku, Jezebel, io9, Splinter, the Root, Deadspin, Lifehacker, Jalopnik, Earther, and the Takeout.
Univision also reportedly sold the Onion, a popular satire website it obtained.
“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,” declared Univision CEO Vince Sadusky in a statement. “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.”
According to CNN Business, “The newly acquired assets will form a company called ‘G/O Media Inc.’,” and James Spanfeller, the founder of Spanfeller Media Group, will “oversee the newly-formed company.”
“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,” proclaimed Spanfeller.
“As the largest player in our space, G/O Media is in an ideal position to capitalize on this dynamic, and I am excited to collaborate with a great team that boasts an incredible track record to further expand our reach, add value to our advertisers and enrich our visitors’ lives.”
In a memo sent out on Monday, Spanfeller also claimed: “there needs to be a healthy and productive partnership with the business side for the company to be truly successful.”
“I believe in the power of content, yes even in these platform nuanced times, and the idea of editorially driven businesses. And I am very excited to work with the wonderful brands that make up our company and all of you, the professionals who drive these brands day in and day out,” Spanfeller expressed. “I also believe in the partnership that must work between both sides of the house to make media companies successful. While editorial independence is critically important, there needs to be a healthy and productive partnership with the business side for the company to be truly successful.”
“Without an audience we have nothing to offer advertisers, eCommerce partners or subscription efforts,” he continued. “And without the revenue from those sources we have no way to fund the content and those who create it that attracts that audience in the first place.”
Many journalists reacted negatively on social media to Great Hill Partners’ purchase of Gizmodo Media.
“I imagine another dark day in journalism is on the horizon, but here’s hoping I’m wrong,” posted Shareblue Media senior political reporter, Emily C. Singer, while Recode Media host Peter Kafka declared, “Modest prediction: Jim Spanfeller (my former boss many years ago) + the Gizmodo folks will be an uncomfortable fit.”
Modest prediction: Jim Spanfeller (my former boss many years ago) + the Gizmodo folks will be an uncomfortable fit.
— Peter Kafka (@pkafka) April 8, 2019
— Megan Carpentier (@megancarpentier) April 8, 2019
After being made to pay $140 million following professional wrestler Hulk Hogan’s lawsuit for violating his privacy, Gawker Media filed for bankruptcy, and was subsequently purchased by Univision for $135 million.
Univision then shut down Gawker Media’s flagship website Gawker and renamed the organization to Gizmodo Media Group, taking the name of its popular technology-focused website Gizmodo.