G/O Media Hangs ‘For Sale’ Sign Across Its Portfolio


Digital media company G/O Media is shopping around its portfolio of editorial assets in hopes of securing buyers for individual titles, part of a broader effort to divest the properties ahead of another challenging year for the media industry, according to four people familiar with the efforts.

The media company, which includes the publishers Deadspin, Quartz, Kotaku, The Root, The Onion and Gizmodo, initially sought a suitor that would acquire its entire stable of brands, according to two sources.

But no such buyer materialized, leading the company to explore options to sell the properties on an individual basis. It has placed a particular emphasis on offloading The Onion, which is not profitable, according to two people familiar with its finances. 

“It’s fair to say they’re looking to divest,” according to a source. “I think it speaks to the broader market. There is not that much positivity about the future of publishing, so they’re trying to extract as much value as possible.”

Dwindling referral traffic from search and social platforms has reduced publishers’ scale across the board, while shifts in the privacy landscape and the rise of generative artificial intelligence threaten to upend established commercial and editorial strategies. Traffic at G/O Media has fallen from 57 million unique visitors in December 2019 to 22 million unique visitors in December 2023, according to Comscore.

“As with many multi-title media properties, we are always entertaining opportunities,” said a representative for G/O Media. “We have sold sites and purchased sites.”

G/O Media ownership eyes the door

G/O Media is owned by private equity firm Great Hill Partners, which created it after acquiring Gizmodo Media Group and The Onion for roughly $40 million in 2019, according to two sources.

In March 2023, G/O Media sold one of its properties, Lifehacker, to the media company Ziff Davis for an unspecified amount. According to two sources, the sale fetched a high enough price for Great Hill to make back its original investment. 

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