Gizmodo Media Group’s New Private-Equity Boss Has Some Thoughts About the Company’s Values

Illustration: Intelligencer

For the second time in four years, the former Gizmodo Media Group — home to both the eponymous tech site, as well as Deadspin, Jezebel, the Onion, the Root, and ClickHole, among others — has a new owner. Great Hill Partners, a private-equity firm based in Boston, has reached an agreement to purchase Gizmodo Media Group from Univision for what will likely be “much less than the $135 million Univision paid in 2016 to acquire most of the Gizmodo properties,” The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday. The deal had previously been reported as a potential option for GMG earlier this year by the Journal, so it doesn’t come as a total shock.

Also for the second time in as many years, the company will be getting a name-change. Gizmodo Media Group will henceforth know be known as
G/O Media Inc. — a nod to Gizmodo and the Onion, both GMG properties. Its new boss will Jim Spanfeller, who’s worked at, PC Magazine, and RealClearPolitics.

Spanfeller sent an email to his notoriously independent new staff this morning, saying he looks forward to meeting everyone soon and answering their (likely many) questions. Including ones about editorial independence: “While editorial independence is critically important, there needs to be a healthy and productive partnership with the business side for the company to be truly successful,” Spanfeller wrote. “Without an audience we have nothing to offer advertisers, eCommerce partners or subscription efforts. And without the revenue from those sources we have no way to fund the content and those who create it that attracts that audience in the first place.” He also explained he wants to establish a new set of company values and laid out a rough draft of his ideas. “Feel free to help make these better and perhaps more attuned to G/O Media.”

From Spanfeller’s email:

·    We are action oriented. When faced with an option of action vs. in-action, we always choose to DO SOMETHING.

·    We believe in our people. We respect our teammates. We know that if they “do something” they will, much more often than not, DO THE RIGHT THING.

·    We are ambitious. Both as a company and as individuals. We want our people to always be looking to take the next step up in everything they and we do. To BE GOAL ORIENTED.

·    We respect and value our customers. Without visitors, we would have no marketing partners, without marketing partners we could not serve our users. To protect both of these very important groups we do business WITH THE HIGHEST LEVELS OF INTEGRITY. In how we deliver content and in how we conduct our day to day business activities.

·    We want our work environment to be one where people can BE PASSIONATE AND HAVE FUN.

New corporate-speak values aside, one GMG employee who spoke with Intelligencer said that the vibe among staff this morning is one of tentative optimism. The announcement isn’t a surprise, and Great Hill Partners appears to intend to honor the union’s collective bargaining agreement.

Another current employee, when reached for comment, had this to say: “Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray play the best two-man game in the NBA and they are going to fuck some people up in the playoffs! Go Nuggets!” Sounds like someone is already BEING PASSIONATE AND HAVING FUN.

Gizmodo Media Group’s New Boss Proposes New Company Values