Univision, the country’s most popular Spanish-language TV network, has acquired a controlling stake in the satirical English-language news site The Onion.
Univision said it plans to announce on Tuesday that it is acquiring a 40-percent controlling stake of The Onion — founded as a small newspaper in Madison, Wisconsin, 28 years ago — as part of an effort by the company to court a younger audience.
The move follows Univision’s purchase of The Root, an online site geared toward black readers that was founded by Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr., and its launch with ABC News of the cable network Fusion, an English-language news and entertainment channel designed to attract young viewers, Variety reported.
“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, Univision’s chief news and digital officer. “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.”
In a memo to staff obtained by NPR, Onion CEO Mike McAvoy told staff that Fusion would play a key role in the site’s future.
“So what does this mean for us as a company? Good things,” Mr. McAvoy wrote. “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. 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.”