BuzzFeed will furlough 68 employees this month and extend previously announced pay cuts through the end of the year as the company seeks to keep losses under $20 million, CEO Jonah Peretti told staff on Wednesday.
“The global economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic has inflicted increasing negative impact on our business. In recent weeks, we have been confronted with even greater revenue declines than expected,” Peretti wrote in an email to staff, which was provided to TheWrap by a spokesperson. “Based on our projections and our goal to keep losses under $20M, we determined we must further reduce costs to sustain BuzzFeed through this crisis and position ourselves for the eventual recovery.”
The furloughs, which will begin on May 16 and last for three months for U.S.-based staff, will impact the U.S. and U.K. business divisions, the studio team and the admin group, Peretti said. The company is also considering subleasing its D.C. and Minneapolis offices, suspending its 401K matching program through the end of 2020 and “closing out over 50 open heads in Content and Tech that were budgeted for this year.” For those not furloughed, BuzzFeed will continue implementing pay cuts between 5 to 25 percent — determined based on salary level — through the end of 2020.
Peretti also said BuzzFeed leadership will be negotiating with the BuzzFeed News union to determine how to reduce costs in that section.
“This is a difficult day for all of us. We will do everything we can to support our colleagues who are furloughed,” Peretti said. “The people at BuzzFeed are amazing, you always step up to support each other and share empathy and compassion. We need that spirit more than ever during these tough times and I know we will pull through for each other.”