BuzzFeed Puts Food Sites Up for Sale as Vice Shops Refinery 29

The two former digital media standouts appear set to shrink more as they put high-profile units on the market

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

Former digital media darlings BuzzFeed and Vice Media are putting some of their parts up for sale, The Wall Street Journal reported.

BuzzFeed, which shuttered its newsroom and eyed the sale of its youth-focused unit Complex Networks last year, is now trying to sell its food sites Tasty and First We Feast, the Journal reported, citing people familiar with the situation.

Separately, Fortress Investment Group, which bought Vice for $350 million out of bankruptcy in July, is shopping its women’s lifestyle brand Refinery 29, the report said.

The reported sales efforts come amid a widespread decline in traffic to digital media sites from search engines like Google and from referrals from social media, along with a volatile advertising market.

BuzzFeed declined to comment. Vice did not immediately respond to a request for details from TheWrap.

Tasty, a cooking-focused platform known for its videos on Facebook and Instagram, is a brand that BuzzFeed has used to try to expand revenue streams, offering cookbooks, pots and pans and small appliances.

First We Feast, which was part of the Complex acquisition, bills itself as offering programming that uses food as a lens into pop culture. The main image on its home page Thursday was an ad for an event in California held in November.

BuzzFeed shares gained a fraction on the news, but were trading at less than 22 cents Thursday morning. They have never traded above their December 2021 debut price of $10.95. The company was once valued at $1.7 billion, the Journal noted.

After Fortress bought Vice, several top executives left the company, followed by editor-in-chief Matthew Champion and deputy editor Helen Nianias and eventually, Co-CEO Hosefa Lokhandwala in December. The staff also saw layoffs in November.

The company also contracted its offerings, shutting Vice News Tonight.

Fortress is now in talks with prospective bidders for Refinery29, which saw 2023 revenue drop to $30 million from around $50 million the year earlier, the Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

Vice, which was once valued as high as $5.7 billion, bought Refinery 29 for a reported $400 million in 2019.


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