Sunday, January 31, 2016

Univision Buys Minority Stake in The Onion

About two weeks ago, Univision Communications it has made a minority investment in Onion Inc., the media company behind satirical The Onion. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. 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. 
"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 OnionThe 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.
Univision also has set out to show investors it's not a stodgy old TV company but an up-and-coming digital firm that appeals to millennials, including English speakers. Before investing in The Onion, the broadcaster purchased The Root, a digital media company targeting African-Americans, and in 2013 it partnered with Disney to create Fusion. Univision now is negotiating to purchase Disney's stake in that English-language multimedia company, which targets millennials.
The deal comes at a time when traditional media companies have been chasing a younger audience by making investments in big-name digital brands. NBCUniversal sank $200 million each into BuzzFeed and Vox Media in 2015, and 21st Century Fox and A+E Networks have taken stakes in Vice Media.
To read more about the acquisition, read Georg Szalai's article in The Hollywood Reporter by clicking here, and Paul Bond's followup article in The Hollywood Reporter by clicking here.

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