Nearly five years after first being founded, G/O Media is looking at making significant changes.
According to AdWeek, the media company is looking at selling its collection of editorial websites, which includes Deadspin, The A.V. Club, Quartz, Kotaku, The Root, The Onion and Gizmodo, among others. While G/O Media had initially looked at selling its portfolio as a whole, AdWeek reports that the company is now exploring selling the sites individually.
“It’s fair to say they’re looking to divest,” a source told AdWeek. “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.”
Meanwhile, a G/O Media spokesperson downplayed the nature of any potential sales, but didn’t deny that the company is open for business.
“Your reporting is largely incorrect. As with many multi-title media properties, we are always entertaining opportunities,” the representative told AdWeek. “We have sold sites and purchased sites. Having said that, we do not comment on transaction rumors and speculation.”
G/O Media was first formed by Great Hill Partners in 2019 after the private equity firm purchased the former Gawker Media sites, including Deadspin. In the time since, G/O Media has faced no shortage of turmoil, including (but not limited to) multiple rounds of layoffs, a GMG Union strike, leadership changes and the use of AI.
According to AdWeek, traffic at across G/O Media has fallen from 33 million unique visitors in December 2019 to 21 million in December 2023, according to Comscore.
While its union contract could complicate any potential sales, it will be interesting to see what type of interest G/O Media is able to generate in its websites, especially Deadspin. Once considered a staple of the sports blogosphere, the Will Leitch-founded website hardly resembles its former self, with many having referred to it as “Zombie Deadspin” since the October 2019 resignation of the entire staff in protest of G/O leadership firing deputy editor Barry Petchesky for not sticking to sports.
According to AdWeek, G/O Media has placed a particular emphasis on selling the satirical website The Onion, which it says isn’t profitable. Literally Media, which recently acquired Mel Magazine and already possesses as portfolio of comedy brands, has been mentioned as a potential buyer.