BuzzFeed has acquired HuffPost, the 15-year-old online news outlet, in a stock deal with Verizon Media, companies announce.
The HuffPost purchase is part of a larger cross-content and advertising strategic partnership between BuzzFeed and Verizon, under which Verizon Media will take a minority investment stake in BuzzFeed.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Verizon Media has reportedly been trying to offload HuffPost for over a year and has been in negotiations with BuzzFeed for several months over a sale.. The companies did not state whether HuffPost will be layoffs through the transaction, which is subject to the usual closing terms. The acquisition of HuffPost is expected to end by the end of 2020.
BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti – who co-founded the Huffington Post with Ariana Huffington in 2005, along with investor Ken Learer – will lead the combined BuzzFeed / HuffPost group. The HuffPost addition is expected to boost BuzzFeed’s monthly audience by 29% to 103 million unique monthly visitors, according to data from Comscore..
BuzzFeed News and HuffPost will operate as separate, distinct news organizations, according to BuzzFeed.. BuzzFeed will begin searching for a new editor-in-chief for HuffPost, after EIC Lydia Polgreen exited earlier this year to join Spotify’s Gimlet podcast studio..
“Verizon Media’s strategy has evolved over the past two years to focus on our core strengths – advertising, commerce, content, and subscriptions,” Verizon Media CEO Guru Juraban said when announcing the agreement.. “The partnership with BuzzFeed complements our roadmap while also accelerating our transformation and growth.
In an interview with Variety, Gowrappan said Verizon Media has put HuffPost on a path to growth, but assured the BuzzFeed partnership will accelerate that. « The question is, how much can you expand the business? » He said. “We wanted to achieve it instead of 3X [growth], and look at more than 10 times the growth potential, which is what the BuzzFeed partnership is designed to achieve.. “We didn’t start this discussion by saying, ‘There is a synergy in the number of staff,’” added Gorban, who has been talking with Beretti about the HuffPost deal since early 2020..
“We are excited about our partnership with Verizon Media, and the mutual benefits that will come from sharing content across each other’s properties, collaborating on innovative advertising products and the future of commerce, and leveraging the strength and creativity of Verizon Media Immersive,” Beretti said in a statement..
HuffPost’s namesake Ariana Huffington left the company in 2016 to form a health and wellness startup Thrive Global. AOL acquired the site for $ 315 million in 2011, before AOL itself was acquired in 2015 by Verizon at $ 4.. 4 billion transactions.
Early in HuffPost’s life, critics complained about its practice of compiling reports and stories from other news organizations as well as building a network of non-paying contributors. HuffPost will continue to have a plethora of reporters reporting original reporting – it won a Pulitzer Prize for a series on wounded veterans and their families in 2012 – and in 2018 it shut down the unpaid blogger program. However, under Verizon Media’s leadership, HuffPost has struggled to achieve profitability.
As part of the agreement between Verizon Media and BuzzFeed, the two companies agreed to share content across each of their platforms.. In addition, the companies said they will create a « joint » innovation cluster to explore monetization opportunities « and tap into emerging forms of advertising, including augmented reality (XR) and augmented reality applications..
BuzzFeed will also be able to leverage Verizon Media Immersive, which the carrier is promoting as « the largest online XR platform for advertising and content. ». Additionally, BuzzFeed will have access to Verizon Media’s advertising platform that spans mobile, desktop, video, connected TV, and other channels..
BuzzFeed, which says it has become profitable overall after several rounds of cuts and layoffs – including vacations and wage cuts during the COVID pandemic – believes HuffPost is bringing the company a complementary audience.. A source familiar with the companies said HuffPost readers represent a broader, wealthier demographic than BuzzFeed. . BuzzFeed sees HuffPost as a trusted original digital brand that will allow BuzzFeed to expand its media network horizontally..
“I have vivid memories of HuffPost growing into a major news outlet in its early years, but BuzzFeed is making this acquisition because we believe in the future of HuffPost and its potential to continue defining the media landscape for years,” Peretti said in the statement.. “By adding HuffPost, our media network will have more users, which will spend much more time with our content than any of our peers..
With HuffPost in the fold, BuzzFeed plans to work on diversifying its news site’s revenue streams, such as e-commerce integrations, with the goal of ensuring it has a sustainable path to growth.. As part of this, BuzzFeed expects to leverage the new relationship with Verizon Media to co-develop ads, content, and products.
The BuzzFeed-HuffPost combo comes after a wave of consolidation swept through the digital media sector last year, as companies search for strength in numbers amid revenue shortages and crowd fragmentation.. Among M&A deals: Vice Media Group acquired Refinery29, which is looking to build a stronger presence with millennial women; New York Media is acquired by Vox Media, among a number of print-focused brands gaining new owners; And Discovery-backed Group Nine Media bought women-focused PopSugar.
BuzzFeed, HuffPost, Verizon Media, Media, Jonah Peretti, Verizon Communications
World News – US – BuzzFeed buys HuffPost from Verizon Media
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