BuzzFeed Is Acquiring Huffpost As Struggling Media Companies Try To Kick-Start Growth

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Shelby Talcott Senior White House Correspondent
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BuzzFeed Inc. is acquiring Huffpost in a stock deal as they try to kick-start growth amid a tough year for digital media, the two companies announced Thursday.

BuzzFeed is acquiring Huffpost from Verizon Media, which reportedly has been trying to rid itself of the company for over a year, according to Variety. The terms of the deal remain unknown and both companies have seen layoffs due to COVID-19.

The new partnership is part of a larger deal between BuzzFeed and Verizon, according to the Wall Street Journal, and Verizon will have a minority stake in Buzzfeed. Additionally, Verizon Media reportedly plans to submit a cash investment into BuzzFeed, the WSJ wrote.

“For several years, I spent my every waking moment on HuffPost and how to grow it and how to turn it into a leading media brand on the internet,” Jonah Peretti, the founder and chief executive of BuzzFeed, said according to the WSJ. “So I have a deep connection to that brand because of the history. But this is not about nostalgia for me, it’s about the future, the brand and the audience.”

Peretti will run the newly-combined company and BuzzFeed will continue the search for a HuffPost editor-in-chief.

BuzzFeed was forced to cut back costs this year due to COVID-19 and previously had not broken even for six years, according to a prior WSJ article. Because of “heavy cost cuts,” BuzzFeed is expected to break even this year. (RELATED: Buzzfeed To Furlough Over 60 Employees Without Pay Amid Coronavirus)

These cuts included furloughs, layovers, pay reductions and more, according to the WSJ. The joint project expects to benefit from becoming larger, as the two companies have similar audiences, a statement from BuzzFeed and Huffpost indicated.

This is far from the first merger to happen as media companies attempt to grow – Vice Media acquired Refinery29 in 2019 and Vox Media acquired New York Media, among others.

Verizon Media Chief Executive Guru Gowrappan said he was “pretty clear that Buzzfeed was the right partner” from the very start of discussions. The deal itself has been in talks for several months, the WSJ noted.