Everything in this story is actually, honestly true.
Onion Inc., owner of the satirical news site The Onion and the entertainment site the A.V. Club, has hired a financial adviser for a possible sale, according to people with knowledge of the matter.
The company, which calls itself "America's Finest News Source," is working with the the investment bank GCA Savvian, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the deliberations are private.
Onion can use its brand to capitalize on money flowing into Web media from traditional outlets. Funny or Die, the comedy website co-founded by Will Ferrell, recently hired Moelis & Co. to advise on strategic options. In May, Walt Disney Co. paid $500-million (U.S.) for Maker Studios, while Vice Media Inc. raised $500-million in September selling 10-per-cent stakes to Technology Crossover Ventures and A+E Networks.
Steve Hannah, chief executive officer of Onion, declined to comment yesterday in an e-mail.
Founded as a magazine by a pair of students at the University of Wisconsin at Madison in 1988, The Onion is now published online only, with several websites and YouTube channels that blend written satire with humorous videos. David Schafer, a fund manager, bought the company in 2003.
The Onion moved into online publishing and video as advertisers did the same. The company stopped printing its flagship weekly magazine last year, and expanded into video production several years ago, founding a daily Web broadcast called Onion News Network and then a companion sports show.
"We didn't do anything brilliant, we saw it coming," Hannah said in an interview with Bloomberg Television last year. "Print was beginning to decline. We got ahead of the game and decided to go all digital all the time."
The Onion turned its original news shows into a TV show for IFC, and also produced Onion SportsDome for Comedy Central. Both shows have been cancelled.
Google's YouTube offered the company an additional outlet. The Onion's channel, home to spirited movie reviews and a parody of reality TV called Sex House, has 766,455 subscribers. Onion Inc. also operates channels for the A.V. Club and Clickhole, a subsidiary site that satirizes websites like BuzzFeed and UpWorthy.
The company relocated its editorial operations to Chicago from New York two years ago.