Comcast Continues Selloff of BuzzFeed as It Sheds Another 5.1 Million Shares

The media conglomerate dropped its stake in the listicle maker to 16% from about 20% with latest stock sales

buzzfeed jonah peretti
BuzzFeed Founder and CEO Jonah Peretti (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Comcast has sold off another 5.1 million more shares of BuzzFeed, dropping its ownership stake in the challenged media company to about 16% from nearly 20%.

Comcast Corp. said in a regulatory filing its NBC Universal unit sold 5.1 million shares between Feb. 2 and Monday.

That follows the sale of 5.7 million in sales it disclosed last week.

The sales came as BuzzFeed’s stock saw an uptick after it last month announced it would start using artificial intelligence generated content. Editor Jonah Peretti said the digital media company will have AI-generated quizzes and articles on the site sometime this year.

The stock has never been highly valued, but floundered last year and for more than a month, hovered below $1 a share. It spiked after the AI announcement and a separate announcement of a $10 million deal with Meta to provide content to Facebook and Instagram. But shares have since given back some of those gains, to trade at $1.72 midday Tuesday.

Comcast shares gave up 9 cents to $39.42 in midday trading. The stock is up about 11% since the start of the year.

NBCUniversal made a $200 million investment in BuzzFeed in 2015. The company went public in 2021 via a SPAC deal. Philadelphia-based Comcast still owns more than 20 million shares of the stock, worth about $35 million.

Its holdings were valued at $56.3 million after the earlier sales. It’s not exactly clear how much NBCUniversal netted in the recent sales, because it did not provide detail on how many shares were sold at specific prices. But the earlier dump brought in almost $15.7 million.

The holdings now represent about 5% of voting power of all outstanding shares, the filing said. No NBC representative sits on BuzzFeed’s board.

BuzzFeed laid off 12% of its staffers in December across its sales, tech, production and content teams. A memo from Peretti blamed the layoffs on “combination of worsening macroeconomic conditions, and the ongoing audience shift to vertical video, which is still developing from a monetization standpoint,” forcing BuzzFeed to cut costs.

The memo said the company would invest “in areas that drive growth” and shift away from “areas with lower audience engagement” but did not specify what that would entail.

In his announcement that the site would start using AI-generated content, Peretti said it will serve to enhance the user experience and enable more personalized content on the site.