The Onion has a new owner, and it's no joke

Inside "The Onion" Satirical Newspaper
Inside "The Onion" Satirical Newspaper

To paraphrase The Onion: "Old media company for olds buys young media company for youths."

Spanish-language broadcast giant Univision Communications has purchased control of satirical news website The Onion and its other properties.

The deal, first reported by NPR, gives Univision 40% of the company, which includes digital media satire site Clickhole and pop culture destination The A.V. Club.

A representative for The Onion confirmed that Univision had made an investment. Univision confirmed the deal to Mashable.

The purchase might seem like an odd pairing but at its core is similar to the other recent deals in which large traditional (primarily television) media companies have bought into the digital media market. Vice Media now counts 21st Century Fox, A&E Television Networks and Disney among its investors. BuzzFeed has received major funding from NBCUniversal, Comcast and Hearst Ventures. (Mashable's funders include Time Warner Investments.)

More on The Onion:

Univision's addition of The Onion follows on other investments in digital media including its acquisition of The Root, a news site geared toward African Americans, as well as its considerable stake in Fusion, the television/digital hybrid that it founded with Disney. There have been reports that Disney could end up selling its stake in Fusion to Univision.

Onion CEO Mike McAvoy confirmed the news in a memo sent to employees, noting that Univision would provide the ability to try some new things.

"Univision is excited to help Onion Inc. grow, and to provide the resources to both support our long-standing mission and fund new initiatives. They'll help us keep the foundation strong and to build great new things on top of it," McAvoy wrote. "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 Onion had been seeking a buyer for more than a year.

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