The bloodbath is over at G/O Media — and it worked.
That’s the tough message from the controversial new owner of satirical website The Onion, as well as snarky news blogs including Gizmodo, Jezebel and Deadspin.
Great Hill Partners — a Boston-based buyout firm that slashed more than 25 jobs after it scooped up the former Gawker Media sites in April and renamed them G/O Media — said the group turned a quarterly operating profit for the first time since 2015.
“These results represent a major swing in bottom-line results that move G/O Media’s net operating income from multimillion dollar losses to millions in profits,” according to a Monday memo obtained by The Post.
Great Hill said the group is generating “a similar top-line revenue year-over-year,” with sources pegging last year’s revenue at about $80 million.
Meanwhile, “profitability was driven by a tighter control on costs,” the memo said, citing “a more efficient use of vendors, lower facility costs, reduction in freelance budgets and a temporary reduction in staffing.”
The bloodletting has been masterminded by G/O Jim Spanfeller, a former Forbes Media exec tapped by Great Hill to turn around the company.
“We are on track to widen these gains through growth in the 4th quarter,” Spanfeller said in the memo.
Spanfeller has been a lightning rod at G/O since Great Hill bought the group from Univision for an undisclosed sum. Staffers have griped that he was hiring “older white guys” from his past to run the company, even as he slashed the rank and file.
In July, the Post reported that G/O employees complained that Spanfeller has been relying on his connections from Playboy and Forbes Media to run the company without posting jobs publicly.
Those complaints circulated weeks before Deadspin published an exposé in August criticizing the CEO’ s leadership style and his top hires.
The CEO punched back with a three-page memo to all G/O Media staffers blasting the G/O web site’s reporting process, including complaints that he was not given enough time to respond to questions.
G/O said in the memo it now has “over 40 open and approved potential new hires” which it says will return its payroll to pre-acquisition levels. Even with the prospective hires in place, G/O said it would have still been profitable in the third quarter.
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