Spanish broadcast giant Univision has bought a 40% stake in the company that owns The Onion, the pioneering comedy and news satire site.
The deal gives Univision 40% of the company, which includes digital media satire site Clickhole and pop culture destination The A.V. Club.
The Onion will operate independently to maintain its editorial voice, while Univision will leverage its distribution and resources to expand the site’s exposure.
“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. 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,” Lee said.
Univision Digital will work with Onion’s brands to explore new content opportunities, including short- and long-form formats for each Onion brand across digital and linear mediums.
Univision’s addition of The Onion follows on other investments in digital media including its acquisition of The Root, a news site geared toward African Americans, as well as its considerable stake in Fusion, the television/digital hybrid that it founded with Disney.
Onion CEO Mike McAvoy confirmed the news in a memo sent to employees, noting that Univision would provide the ability to try some new things.
“Univision is excited to help Onion Inc. grow, and to provide the resources to both support our long-standing mission and fund new initiatives. They’ll help us keep the foundation strong and to build great new things on top of it,” McAvoy wrote. “As an independent media company, we’ve always been forced to run a tight financial ship, which has made us smart and lean, but not always ready to invest in the great new ideas that we come up with. I’m excited to see what we can do with Univision behind us.”
The Onion had been seeking a buyer for more than a year.