BuzzFeed will acquire HuffPost as part of a new deal with Verizon Media, the companies announced on Thursday.
As part of the deal, Verizon Media will have a minority stake in BuzzFeed Inc., while BuzzFeed will control a media network that now includes HuffPost, BuzzFeed, BuzzFeed News and Tasty. BuzzFeed News and HuffPost will operate separately as “distinct news organizations,” according to the announcement, but Verizon Media and BuzzFeed will also syndicate content across one another’s platforms, which includes Verizon’s Yahoo brand.
Peretti, who co-founded HuffPost — then called the Huffington Post — back in 2005, will oversee the new media network, according to the Wall Street Journal. He will also lead the search for HuffPost’s next editor — a position that has remained unfilled after Lydia Polgreen stepped down in March to become the head of content at the podcast company Gimlet.
“We’re excited about our partnership with Verizon Media, and mutual benefits that will come from syndicating content across each other’s properties, collaborating on innovative ad products and the future of commerce, and tapping into the strength and creativity of Verizon Media Immersive,” BuzzFeed CEO and founder Jonah Peretti said in a statement. “I have vivid memories of growing HuffPost into a major news outlet in its early years, but BuzzFeed is making this acquisition because we believe in the future of HuffPost and the potential it has to continue to define the media landscape for years to come.”
“While considering opportunities to work together, naturally, Jonah and I also discussed the property he co-founded, HuffPost,” Verizon Media CEO Guru Gowrappan said. “We quickly realized BuzzFeed’s strategy would complement HuffPost’s roadmap, injecting it with new energy and growing the brand into the future. We are deeply invested in the continued success of HuffPost and I couldn’t think of a better partner to take HuffPost to the next level.”
The acquisition comes after a rocky financial year for BuzzFeed which, like many other media companies, was impacted by the economic downturn caused by the pandemic. But after pay cuts, furloughs, layoffs and other cost-cutting measures amounting to under $30 million, Peretti said the company expected to break even for the first time in six years.
HuffPost, which was acquired by Verizon Media in 2015 as part of a $4.4 billion deal for AOL, has also been impacted by layoffs and financial struggles dating to before the pandemic. In January last year, about 20 editorial staffers at HuffPost were laid off as Verizon Media implemented mass layoffs that impacted 7% of its workforce. Later that year, another 150 employees across brands like AOL, HuffPost, TechCrunch and Yahoo were laid off.