BuzzFeed CEO Aims for $150 Million From Sale of Complex Networks Assets (Report)

Two years after being acquired, the digital media firm looks like it’s about to be sold for parts

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BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti is aiming to land $150 million from the sales of various Complex Networks assets, according to a new report by The Information.

The goal of the sale would be to pay off BuzzFeed’s debt and fix its Wall Street situation, the outlet reported, citing unnamed sources. The company’s stock has been trading low enough to risk being delisted from Nasdaq.

The annual ComplexCon festival and video series including “Sneaker Shopping” are among the assets Peretti is hoping to raise $150 million with, according to the report. However, the CEO hopes to retain a particularly valuable Complex asset, the food site First We Feast. It’s the site behind popular video series “Hot Ones,” which regularly interviews A-list celebrities and culturally relevant individuals.

A $150 million asking price is about half of the nearly $300 million BuzzFeed paid for Complex Networks two years ago, representing a quick pivot from the company that’s suffered a string of rough quarterly earnings. The $150 million tag also represents double the annual revenue generated from the assets in question, according to the report.

The Complex assets in question target Gen Z, millennial and minority audiences. They focus on cultural news, streetwear, hip-hop, sports and fashion. While these coverage areas would be useful for attracting certain groups, BuzzFeed’s reported hesitancy to sell First We Feast shows the company’s desire to keep Complex’s most valuable item that’s capable of attracting youth across a swath of demographics.

This isn’t the first time talk of a Complex Networks sale has cropped up. A June report also indicated BuzzFeed’s youth-focused firm was up for offer. At that time, an insider with knowledge of the situation told TheWrap, “Everything at BuzzFeed is for sale. BuzzFeed itself is for sale.”

Asset sales are just one of the ways BuzzFeed could cut costs to help its bottom line amid a tough ad market. The company’s already attempted other measures, such as shuttering BuzzFeed News and experimenting with AI tools to inexpensively produce content.

BuzzFeed declined TheWrap’s request for comment.