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Univision takes slice of The Onion

US Spanish-language broadcaster Univision Communications has acquired a major stake in satirical online publisher The Onion.

New York-based Univision has reportedly picked up 40% of The Onion in a deal valuing the business at under US$100m with the option to buy the remaining shares.

The move comes as Univision is said to be in talks with Disney about taking full control of English-speaking Hispanic millennial news service Fusion in the run up to a potential flotation.

The private equity-owned broadcast group, which also counts UniMás and Galavisión among its networks, bought black news site The Root last year and is now adding Chicago-based The Onion to the mix – a publishing firm that started out in 1988 as a print publication but went entirely digital in 2013.

“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 Univision chief news and digital officer Isaac Lee.

“The Onion has been, and continues to be, a leading force of this phenomenon. 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.”

Univision’s growing investment in millennial-focused online media comes after NBCUniversal last year invested US$200m in BuzzFeed and Disney upped its stake in Vice Media with twice that amount.

The Onion already has its own substantial online video operations and at one time had its own TV series on Comedy Central.


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