Gizmodo Media Group acquired by private equity firm Great Hill Partners
Private equity firm Great Hill Partners has acquired Gizmodo Media Group, the owner of the popular gadget website Gizmodo.com, from Univision. The total amount of the deal was not disclosed. However, according to a report from WSJ, citing person familiar with the deal, “Great Hill is paying considerably less than the $135 million that Univision paid in August 2016 for the Gawker assets in a bankruptcy auction, (which didn’t include Gawker.com). Univision acquired a 40% stake in The Onion in January 2017.
With the acquisition, Great Hill Partners will add several other Gizmodo Media Group’s websites to its portfolio, including Gizmodo, Lifehacker, Deadspin and The Onion. The combined assets will form a new company named G/O Media Inc. (“the Company”) that will be led by digital content industry veteran James (“Jim”) Spanfeller, who will also be a significant investor in the company. Financial terms of the private, all equity transaction were not disclosed.
G/O Media brands reach more than a third of all Americans online each month, attracting approximately 100 million unique visitors. The Company’s collection of digital-first brands serve young, diverse influencers with content that reflects their values and passions, including category-leading sites focused on technology (Gizmodo), car culture (Jalopnik), modern women’s interests (Jezebel), sports (Deadspin), life tips and hacks (Lifehacker), gaming (Kotaku), and African American news and culture (The Root), and The Onion, which includes The A.V. Club and ClickHole.
“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,” said 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. G/O Media is already the leader among digital media companies speaking to the 10-to-34 year-old market, and we are confident and excited to see that lead expand.”
Spanfeller, past Chairman of the IAB and longtime executive board member of Digital Content Next (DCN), has been recognized as leader in the digital content space. He played a key role as CEO in building Forbes.com to market leadership and most recently built a native digital content company from the ground up that featured The Daily Meal and The Active Times, which he successfully sold to Tronc Inc. in December 2016.
Great Hill Partners has deep experience across the media and digital media sectors, with a successful track record of investing in and adding value to companies such as Ziff Davis, IGN, Momondo Group, Educaedu, Legacy.com, Action Media, All Web Leads (AWL), BuscaPé.com, Recruiting.com, Dame Broadcasting, and Palm Beach Broadcasting.
“From our experience across the digital media landscape, we know it is not every day that an attractive suite of digital media assets becomes available with strong brand recognition among consumers and advertisers, and a set of engaged, vertical audiences which together are larger than Vox, BuzzFeed or Vice,” said Chris Gaffney, Managing Partner at Great Hill Partners. “We are excited by growth and see a great opportunity to further scale a high-quality content producer led by an experienced digital media executive like Jim.”