Satirical News Site The Onion Has Been Sold To Univision

Meeting a person who mistakes satire for news is almost a rite of passage, thanks to The Onion. The line between jokes and journalism may get a little blurrier, now that Univision’s parent company is set to acquire 40% of the satirical news site, a controlling stake overall.

NPR confirmed the deal through a memo sent to staffers from The Onion’s CEO, Mike McAvoy, as well as a source involved in the negotiations. The 40% of shares also includes The A.V. Club, the social media satire site Clickhole, and various book and video projects.

The deal has been described as beneficial for both parties, which are evolving in different ways. Univision wants to appeal to more millennials by using humor, and The Onion could seemingly benefit from the stability of a parent company after over a decade significant changes involving management, location and digital innovation. The deal also give The Onion’s current lead investor David Schafer, who bought The Onion in 2001, an opportunity to cash out.

Many members of The Onion family derived pride from remaining an independent publication, such as former editor Joe Randazzo in 2009, but times are changing. In 2006 they were in talks with Viacom about a deal before being publicly put up for sale in 2014, so this was likely a long time coming.

Since The Onion was founded in 1988 in as a print publication in Wisconsin, it has rolled with the punches that have taken out many other news sources. And while many newspapers and websites have tried to do what The Onion does, no satirical platform has been as successful and respected.

Buying The Onion might have been a smart move for Univision, but it will be even smarter if they plan to get out of their way and let them do what they do best. But by all means, give them all the money they need to keep killing it.

[NPR]