Today, the company announced it has become an investor in digital media company Onion Inc., most known for its satire publication The Onion.
Univision would not disclose the terms of the transaction. But several publications, citing sources with knowledge of the deal, say Univision acquired a 40% controlling stake with the right to buy the entire company at a future time. The New York Times quotes a source estimating the value of the deal at “less than $200 million.”
The acquisition means Univision will immediately grow its online presence. According to comScore data obtained by the NYT, during the month of December, Univision’s digital sites had 19.5 million unique visitors in the U.S. while Onion sites drew 19.3 million.
In a written statement, Univision’s Chief News and Digital Officer and Fusion CEO Isaac Lee states comedy is an engaging format for millennial audiences and “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 says he expects comedy to play a key part in the 2016 presidential election process through Univision’s “content offerings in Spanish and English.”
The Onion Inc. will continue to operate independently, maintaining the integrity of the brand and editorial voice, but Univision will have oversight of Onion Inc. to leverage its digital distribution and resources to expand the exposure of the brand.
Univision Digital will work with Onion Inc.’s brands to explore new content opportunities, including short- and long-form formats for each Onion brand across digital and linear mediums.
The Onion Inc.’s site portfolio includes the satire news publication The Onion, pop-culture site The A.V. Club, ClickHole, gossip site StarWipe and Onion Studios, a digital video network.
Univision acquired The Root in May last year.