Mar 11, 2024 - Business

Deadspin sold by G/O Media, editorial staff to be laid off

Jim Spanfeller, CEO, G/O Media, on Fourth Estate Stage during day two of Collision 2022 at Enercare Centre in Toronto, Canada.

Jim Spanfeller, CEO, G/O Media, on Fourth Estate Stage during day two of Collision 2022 at Enercare Centre in Toronto, Canada. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile for Collision via Getty Images

G/O Media, formerly Gizmodo Media Group, has sold sports blogging site Deadspin to European firm Lineup Publishing, a new digital media rollup company, CEO Jim Spanfeller announced in a note to staff Monday.

Why it matters: The firm, which was acquired by private equity firm Great Hill Partners in 2019, has been slowly offloading sites as pressure mounts from investors to make a return on its investment.

Details: In the memo, Spanfeller said none of Deadspin's existing staff will move over with the site as part of the deal and the new owners will "instead build a new team more in line with their editorial vision for the brand."

  • Impacted staffers were notified Monday that they were being let go from G/O Media, marking the third round of cuts at the firm in less than a year.
  • Spanfeller said Lineup Publishing approached him about the sale and that the company was not "actively shopping Deadspin."
  • "The rationale behind the decision to sell included a variety of important factors that include the buyer's editorial plans for the brand, tough competition in the sports journalism sector, and a valuation that reflected a sizable premium from our original purchase price for the site," Spanfeller wrote in the memo.
  • "While the new owners plan to be reverential to Deadpin's unique voice, they plan to take a different content approach regarding the site's overall sports coverage," he added.

Catch up quick: G/O Media has been offloading sites and cutting staff gradually over the past year as it streamlines its focus to become more efficient.

  • The company shuttered its female-focused brand Jezebel and laid off 23 editorial staffers as part of a broader restructuring last November. It later sold Jezebel to Paste Magazine.
  • It sold its lifestyle website Lifehacker to Ziff Davis last March and laid off 13 staffers last June.

Flashback: Deadspin was founded in 2005 by then editor-in-chief Will Leitch. It was sold to Univision as a part of a broader set of sites linked to Gawker Media in 2016.

  • When Gizmodo Media sold to Great Hill Partners in 2019, tensions between Deadspin staffers and G/O Media executives caused a majority of staffers to flee and start their own site called Defector in 2020.

The big picture: Spanfeller told Axios in an interview earlier this year that despite the media industry's difficult market conditions, his plan wasn't to sell the entire company in 2024.

  • But Spanfeller said he will "chat with people from time to time about possible acquisitions" and sales.

Go deeper: G/O Media has no plans to sell in 2024, CEO says

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