SATIRICAL NEWS SITE The Onion – known for headlines like ‘World Death Rate Holding Steady at 100 Percent’ – has been valued at half a billion dollars, more than most of the news outlets it exists to mock.
The biggest Spanish-language broadcaster in the US, Univision Communications, announced it has taken a 40% and controlling stake in the The Onion for $200 million (€183 million).
The deal, which also includes sister sites The A.V. Club and ClickHole, values the 28-year-old publisher, which started as a newspaper from two college students in Wisconsin, at $500 million (€458 million).
Univision has already been dabbling in online media, last year buying The Root – a site targeted at African-American readers – as it chases a broader audience.
Goodbye print, hello clicks
The Onion, which bills itself as ‘America’s Finest News Source’, ditched print for good in late 2013 and now scores more than 23 million unique visitors to its stable of sites from around the world each month, according to Quantcast.
That remains a fraction of the estimated 170 million-plus visitors to new media darling Buzzfeed, which was valued at $1.5 billion last year after an investment from NBCUniversal.
However to put the sky-high valuations in context, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos snapped up the venerable Washington Post for only $250 million (€229 million at today’s rates) in 2013. The Boston Globe fetched just $70 million the same year.
Last year, the 128-year-old Financial Times fetched £844 million (€1.1 billion today) when it was snapped up by Japanese publisher Nikkei.
Meanwhile, it was business as usual at The Onion, where the top headline this morning read: