In news that could have been straight out of The Onion itself, Univision has purchased a stake in the satirical news outlet. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The top Spanish-language broadcaster in the U.S. has bought as much as a 40 percent stake in The Onion Inc., the parent company of The Onion, StarWipe, ClickHole and (real) pop culture site The A.V. Club, with the option to buy it outright. The company will continue to operate independently in Chicago.
"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 Isaac Lee, chief news and digital Officer of Univision and CEO of Fusion. "It has also proven to be an incredibly engaging format for millennial audiences, and is expected to play a key part in the 2016 presidential election process via our robust content offerings in Spanish and English."
While on the surface it appears odd that a long-time trusted real news outlet would buy a fake news website, The Onion has been able to court a young, millennial audience, reaching about 25 million unique visitors each month. The company has also created a successful branded content wing, Onion Labs, which accounts for the majority of its revenue.
And with the political season upon us–Hispanic voters are among the most sought-after demographic by candidates–The Onion has been hitting both sides of the aisle hard with articles like Rubio Refutes Claim He Soft On Immigration By Dragging Undocumented Worker He Knocked Out Cold Onto Stage and Out-Of-Control Hand Gesture Sends Bernie Sanders Tumbling Off Stage.
With their audience on television skewing older–rival Spanish broadcaster Telemundo has been gaining steam among the younger demo–Univision has attempted to broaden its scope. Its partnership with Disney on the television network Fusion has made little if any dent in the marketplace; Disney is reportedly looking to sell its stake.
This also follows Univision's acquisition of African American-themed website The Root last year, as the company looks to finally launch its much-delayed IPO.