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G/O Media Sells Deadspin, Lays Off Staff

G/O Media Sells Deadspin, Lays Off Staff


G/O Media has sold its sports website Deadspin to Lineup Publishing, an advertising firm that operates monetization software for media outlets.

The financial terms of the sale were not disclosed. The existing Deadspin staff—around 11 employees—will be laid off as part of the deal, according to an internal memo sent by chief executive Jim Spanfeller.

“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,” Spanfeller said in the email. “This unfortunately means that we will be parting ways with those impacted staff members, who were notified earlier today.”

The sale comes after ADWEEK reported in January that G/O Media was actively fielding offers to sell parts of its portfolio, provided the offers meet certain commercial criteria. 

It sold the recommendations website Lifehacker to Ziff Davis in March 2023 and the feminist property Jezebel to Paste Magazine in November, and it has received offers for satirical brand The Onion.

The sale of Deadspin represents its third divested property in 12 months.

However, Spanfeller stressed in the memo 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 said.

Controversy at Deadspin

An editorial controversy at Deadspin late last year may have helped hasten its sale, according to two people familiar with the matter. 

The sports website published a story in November accusing a 9-year-old boy attending a Kansas City Chiefs football game of wearing blackface, only to discover that the fan had painted his face red and black. The family eventually sued Deadspin for the story.

The incident frustrated the private equity ownership of G/O Media, Great Hill Partners, according to two people familiar with the matter. 

G/O Media, which Great Hill acquired in 2019 for $40 million, is a relatively small acquisition by Great Hill standards, which often invests between $50 million and $75 million in companies with businesses that grow to around $200 million, according to a source.