B2C. Boston-based private equity firm Great Hill Partners is acquiring Gizmodo Media Group (owner of Jezebel, Deadspin and The Onion) from Univision Communications. The price is believed to be under $50m – about a third of the $135m Univision paid just three years ago when it acquired most of the Gawker Media sites via a bankruptcy auction in 2016, after they had posted a sex tape of the former wrestler Terry Bollea (aka Hulk Hogan). Hogan had successfully sued Gawker, secretly backed by the billionaire Facebook director Peter Thiel, who had held a longtime grudge against the owner-founder, British-born digital entrepreneur Nick Denton.
Univision is now walking back from the short-lived English language media strategy it had been pursuing when it acquired Gizmodo and The Onion in 2016-7. It’s going back to its Spanish speaking heartland. The deal also include sites like Lifehacker and Jalopnik which will be operated by a new company G/O Media to be run by James Spanfeller, ex-CEO of Forbes.com, PC Magazine and RealClearPolitics, who also founded the Daily Meal.
G/O Media claims to have 100m monthly uniques, primarily in the 10-34 age group. Great Hill Partners has previously invested in a number of digital media companies, including Ziff Davis, career website Recruiting.com and obituary search tool Legacy.com.