Univision Communications now wants to unload Fusion Media Group — coming two years after it bought a half-dozen websites from Gawker Media in a bid to boost its reach among younger audiences.
The Hispanic media giant is exploring a sale of Fusion Media Group, the Wall Street Journal reported. (Univision declined to comment.) The strategic about-face comes after Univision cancelled its initial public offering plans earlier this year and has seen broad turnover among its senior executive ranks.
Univision last year had tried to sell a 20% stake in Fusion Media Group for $200 million, but failed to find any investors willing to go in on the deal, the Journal reported. According to the WSJ, potential partners were “skittish” about working with the Univision ownership group, which includes Haim Saban’s Saban Capital Group, Televisa, and private-equity firms Providence Equity Partners, Madison Dearborn Partners, Thomas H. Lee Partners and TPG.
In March, Univision CEO Randy Falco announced his exit one day after the company had scrapped IPO plans. This spring, it Univision laid off 150 employees as part of another wave of restructuring.
Fusion Media Group CEO Felipe Holguin and president and chief content officer Daniel Eilemberg also left the company. Shortly afterward, Raju Narisetti, CEO of FMG’s Gizmodo Media Group and a former News Corp exec, also exited after about a year and a half with Univision.
Univision named Vince Sadusky its new CEO, who officially started June 1, with Falco staying on as an adviser through year-end. Sadusky is the former CEO of Media General and Lin TV station groups.
Univision created the Fusion Media Group in April 2016, after Disney exited the Fusion cable and digital-media joint venture. In August of that year, Univision paid $135 million for the Gawker assets in a bankruptcy auction, which didn’t include the currently dormant Gawker.com.
Fusion Media Group’s Gizmodo Media Group brands are Gizmodo, Deadspin, TrackRecord, Lifehacker, Jezebel, Splinter, The Root, Kotaku, and Jalopnik. In addition, the Fusion Media Group includes the company’s interest in the Onion, Clickhole and The A.V. Club as well as two cable networks — Fusion TV, a news and lifestyle English-language network, and Univision’s interest in El Rey Network — and a production studio.