Great Hill Forms Digital Media Platform

G/O Media, a newly formed platform of Great Hill Partners, has acquired the Gizmodo Media Group and The Onion from Univision Communications.

G/O Media reaches more than a third of all Americans online each month, attracting approximately 100 million unique visitors. The company’s brands target young, diverse influencers with content that focuses on technology (Gizmodo), car culture (Jalopnik), modern women’s interests (Jezebel), sports (Deadspin), life tips and hacks (Lifehacker), gaming (Kotaku), African American news and culture (The Root), and The Onion, which includes The A.V. Club and ClickHole.

G/O Media is led by digital content industry veteran Jim Spanfeller, who is also an investor in the company. In 2011, Mr. Spanfeller formed Spanfeller Media Group which produced TheDailyMeal.com and TheActiveTimes.com. These properties were both sold to Tribune Publishing in December 2016. From 2001 to 2009 Mr. Spanfeller was the chief executive of Forbes.com. Earlier in his career, he was the president of Ziff Davis’ consumer magazine group as well as the publisher of Inc. Magazine.

“This opportunity comes at a time when the entire digital media category is beginning to be recognized again for its unique ability to meet the diverse content and delivery needs of consumers and advertisers,” said Mr. Spanfeller. “As the largest player in our space, G/O Media is in an ideal position to capitalize on this dynamic, and I am excited to collaborate with a great team that boasts an incredible track record to further expand our reach, add value to our advertisers and enrich our visitors’ lives.”

Great Hill Partners has experience across the media and digital media sectors. Past investments include Educaedu (2010 – active), Momondo Group (2014 – 2017), Legacy.com (2012 – 2017), Recruiting.com (2006 – 2016), All Web Leads (2011 – 2015), Ziff Davis (2010 – 2012), Palm Beach Broadcasting (2002 – 2011), BuscaPé.com (2005 – 2009), Action Media (2004 – 2006), IGN (2003 – 2005), and Dame Broadcasting (2000 – 2005).

“From our experience across the digital media landscape, we know it is not every day that an attractive suite of digital media assets becomes available with strong brand recognition among consumers and advertisers, and a set of engaged, vertical audiences which together are larger than Vox, BuzzFeed or Vice,” said Chris Gaffney, a managing partner at Great Hill. “We are excited by growth and see a great opportunity to further scale a high-quality content producer led by an experienced digital media executive like Jim.”

Great Hill typically invests from $25 million to $200 million in companies that are active in the business-to-business and business-to-consumer industries including software, financial and healthcare technology, digital media, e-commerce, and internet infrastructure. In February 2017, Great Hill held a first and final closing of Great Hill Equity Partners VI LP, at the hard cap of $1.5 billion. The firm was founded in 1998 and is based in Boston (www.greathillpartners.com).

© 2019 Private Equity Professional | April 15, 2019

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