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Business of Media Media Mergers and Acquisitions

BuzzFeed slashes HuffPost newsrooms as it readies for a public offering


By John Glenday, Reporter

March 11, 2021 | 3 min read

BuzzFeed has announced a series of redundancies at HuffPost, as it seeks to streamline operations ahead of an expected public offering.


BuzzFeed slashes HuffPost newsrooms as it readies for a public offering

The shock news comes just weeks after the entertainment brand acquired HuffPost from Verizon Media. It dovetails with a pending merger with acquisition specialists 890 5th Avenue Partners, which would open the door for a public offering of BuzzFeed.

What is going on at BuzzFeed?

  • Since 2006 BuzzFeed has established itself as a popular digital-media outlet built on organic growth.

  • With its acquisition of HuffPost in February, a new strategy of expansion through acquisition was adopted – but BuzzFeed will require a significant injection of cash to fund further growth.

  • A suggested merger with 890 5th Avenue Partners – a special purpose acquisition company – is on the cards, paving the way to the stock market and much-needed capital.

What are the implications for HuffPost?

  • Caught in the middle of these machinations is HuffPost, which is bearing the brunt of a brutal restructuring, including the closure of HuffPost Canada.

  • Key figures including executive editor Hillary Frey and Louise Roug, executive editor for international, have bee laid off as part of a broader restructuring that will see 47 roles lost – including eight in management.

  • Justifying the need to act, chief executive Jonah Peretti said: ”Though BuzzFeed is a profitable company, we don’t have the resources to support another two years of losses.”

Why now?

  • The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated a shift in digital advertising spend toward Google and Facebook, hitting titles such as BuzzFeed and HuffPost.

  • Peretti has sanctioned an aggressive programme of efficiencies and cost savings while also seeking out new partners and funding streams to adjust to the new reality.

  • HuffPost was starved of resources under the management of Verizon Media, leaving it exposed to worsening circumstances.

  • BuzzFeed has not been immune to the change in wind direction either, laying off 15% of its workforce and slashing pay last summer as the pandemic bit.

Business of Media Media Mergers and Acquisitions

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