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article imageThe Onion sells 40% stake to Univision — Really, it did

By Marcus Hondro     Jan 19, 2016 in Business
The largest Spanish language broadcaster in the United States, Univision, has bought a 40 percent controlling interest in the Onion, the satirical online news magazine. No joke and all kidding aside, it's true, the deal was announced today.
Broadcaster buys Onion
Given the main Onion product is satire and nothing is sacred to the site and it has created an image of being an anti-establishment publication, the need to emphasize that the sale to an establishment broadcaster is for real is arguably prudent.
So, yes, the deal has indeed been made and the president of the Onion, Mike McAvoy, who's been with the site since 2005, did some explaining when announcing it.
McAvoy said they have struggled with taking ideas and turning them into product due to finances and believes partnering with such a powerful broadcaster — the fifth largest in the U.S. — will change that.
"Univision is excited to help Onion Inc. grow, and to provide the resources to both support our long-standing mission and fund new initiatives," he wrote in a press release.
"As an independent media company, we've always been forced to run a tight financial ship, which has made us smart and lean, but not always ready to invest in the great new ideas that we come up with. I'm excited to see what we can do with Univision behind us."
The sale to Univision of the controlling interest hasn't yet been mentioned on the news site itself. Principal stories on this day, Jan. 19, 2016, are 'Man Dying From Cancer Spends Last Good Day on Phone with Insurance Company' and 'Iranian Nuclear Scientists Hurriedly Flush 200 pounds of Enriched Uranium Down Toilet During Surprise U.N. Inspection.'
Univison vision
Univision Communications Inc. say they made the purchase to reach a younger market — those who look to their phones and tablets for news and entertainment more than computers and television. Those are the very people who visit the Onion on a regular basis.
Isaac Lee is Univision's chief of news and he spoke to media. "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," Lee said about his company's purchase. "It has also proven to be an incredibly engaging format for millennial audiences."
He said comedy is "expected to play a key part in the 2016 presidential election process via our robust content offerings in Spanish and English" and so it is a good time for Univision to become invovled in the Onion.
Last year, Univision purchased The Root, America's leading black news site. As with the purchse of the Onion, Lee said at the time that Univsion bought The Root to greater serve "America's diverse population."
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