×

Disney Looks to Sell Fusion Stake to Univision

Walt Disney Co. is looking to sell its stake in new media brand Fusion to co-owner Univision, according to published reports Tuesday.

The two-year-old venture, which is focused on serving news and lifestyle content to millennials, is a mix of digital properties and a cable network. Disney and Univision declined comment.

Univision, the largest owner of Latino-centric content in the U.S., was a natural partner for Fusion when it first launched in 2013 with more of an emphasis on attracting Latinos stateside. But Fusion eventually pivoted to chase a broader audience, one it hasn’t so clearly connected with as the venture has been criticized for not resonating in the marketplace.

Fusion is one of many upstart digital brands including Vice Media, Buzzfeed and Vox that have attracted considerable buzz and conglomerate investment dollars for their ability to reach younger consumers who are slipping away from more establishment media options. Fusion had the advantage of a channel business that even without some major distribution partners like Comcast was capable of throwing off enough cash to smooth the rough road of subsisting on digital dollars.

In the past year, Fusion’s rivals have made strides to diversify their revenue streams. Vice, which just last week saw increased investment from Disney, announced its first cable channel earlier this year. Buzzfeed and Vox drew investment from Comcast, which is expected to integrate those brands in some way to its own linear-networks holdings.

Univision sees Fusion as the cornerstone of its strategy to court English-speaking Latino millennials with digital content. Isaac Lee, the exec who has steered the launch of Fusion, was promoted last month to the post of chief digital and news officer of Univision with a mandate to grow the company’s digital footprint with brands such as Fusion and its offshoot the Root.

When contacted last week, Univision declined to comment on the status of its partnership with Disney on Fusion. The Wall Street Journal first reported the news on Tuesday.

Unclear at this juncture is how much Disney’s stake in Fusion is worth. The Journal reported that Univision buying Disney’s portion is just one scenario that could play out.

Popular on Variety

More Digital

  • Netflix-logo-N-icon

    Netflix Is Testing Human-Curated 'Collections'

    Netflix, a company powered by the strategic use of data, relies on artificial intelligence to suggest new content that its streaming customers are likely to be interested in. Now it’s looking to potentially add a human touch: The company has launched a limited-scale test of “Collections,” a new feature that presents groups of movies and [...]

  • wolves in the walls emmy

    Neil Gaiman VR Experience 'Wolves in the Walls' Wins Primetime Emmy

    “Wolves in the Walls,” the virtual reality (VR) experience based on Neil Gaiman’s children’s book by the same name, has been awarded with a Primetime Emmy for outstanding innovation in interactive media. The experience has been produced by San Francisco-based immersive entertainment startup Fable, which puts a big effort on making the viewer a participating [...]

  • The Void San Francisco

    The Void Teams Up With Sony Pictures for New Location-Based VR Experience

    James Murdoch-backed virtual reality (VR) startup The Void has teamed up with Sony Pictures Virtual reality to produce a new location-based VR experience, according to Curtis Hickman, the startup’s chief creative officer. Hickman revealed the partnership in a conversation with Variety this week, during which he also outlined plans to bring more original IP to [...]

  • US President Donald J. Trump speaks

    Apple Stock Down 4.6% After Trump ‘Orders’ Companies to Leave China

    Apple’s share price was down around 4.6% Friday at the close of the market, to $202.64 per share, after President Trump took to Twitter to “order” U.S. companies to leave China. The slide came amid a market-wide sell-off, with the NASDAQ sliding 3%, and the Dow dropping 623 points. Trump’s edict was a response to [...]

  • Former head of CAA China Peter

    Peter Loehr to Spearhead Asia Expansion of Genies Avatar Venture (EXCLUSIVE)

    Peter Loehr, the former head of CAA in China, and seasoned music executive John Possman have been tapped by digital avatar company Genies to lead its expansion into Asia. The company’s proprietary avatar technology allows users to express ideas, thoughts and feelings in a different way from text, audio and video. Within the app and [...]

  • Tim Connolly - Quibi

    Quibi Head of Partnerships and Advertising Tim Connolly Departs

    Tim Connolly, the former Hulu exec who joined Quibi last year as head of partnerships and advertising, is leaving the mobile TV subscription startup founded by Jeffrey Katzenberg. Connolly’s exit comes eight months ahead of Quibi’s planned April 2020 debut. A Quibi rep declined to comment on his departure, which was first reported by Business [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content