BuzzFeed Mulls Sale of Complex Networks 2 Years After Acquisition (Report)

The media company paid almost $300 million for the youth-focused firm

BuzzFeed offices on April 20, 2023 in Los Angeles. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Just two years after buying the digital media firm for nearly $300 million, BuzzFeed is already considering selling it off, according to a report from The Information. This follows widespread layoffs and the company’s spiking interest in AI content as a cheap solution to the problem of maintaining profitability in a rough ad market.

BuzzFeed is trading low enough to risk a Nasdaq delisting and has suffered a string of unfortunate quarterly reports, necessitating drastic measures from the company. Still, a potential sale of Complex Networks would be a big twist for the brand’s strategic narrative given BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti’s long-running emphasis on consolidation.

BuzzFeed’s December layoffs included Complex staff, and former Complex executives departed in April.

Peretti hasn’t publicly shown an eagerness to sell off Complex. He even shot down an approach from entertainment firm SpringHill Company, which showed interest in Complex, according to the report.

“Everything at BuzzFeed is for sale. BuzzFeed itself is for sale,” an individual with knowledge of the situation told TheWrap. The issue, the source says, is that people come in for meetings, but then can’t get financing lined up. “They’re not finding firm financing.”

BuzzFeed did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s requests for comment.

Tech companies in general are going through a rough patch, with Twitter’s ad revenue in a slump and Reddit announcing layoffs approximating 5% of its workforce. Each company has different reasons for being in their given positions, but the overall economic climate isn’t a friendly one. Despite that, Big Tech still did well for itself in general in the most recent earnings quarter, thanks to a mix of revenue and cost-cutting measures such as layoffs.