News Site The Messenger Denies as ‘Absurd’ That It’s Out of Money and Could Shut Down

The site, which is owned by media investor Jimmy Finkelstein, said Tuesday it was laying off two dozen staffers and raising more cash

The Messenger founder and CEO Jimmy Finkelstein (Getty Images)
The Messenger founder and CEO Jimmy Finkelstein (Getty Images)

The start-up news platform The Messenger on Wednesday said a report that the site is out of money and could shut down was “absurd.”

This comes after the site said it will lay off nearly two dozen employees this week across all departments in an effort to cut costs amid a second round of fundraising, as TheWrap reported this week.

“We have already secured investment as part of our second raise, and so the notion of us discussing closure is beyond absurd,” a spokesperson for The Messenger told TheWrap in a statement following a Wednesday report from Semafor’s Max Tani.

“The board of the start-up news organization The Messenger weighed shutting the publication down at a meeting on Friday, after learning that the company is on track to run out of cash at the end of January,” Semafor reported.

The platform, which was founded and is owned by media investor Jimmy Finkelstein, rejected the idea that the company was tanking financially, sharing that it’s already secured more money to stay afloat.

The latest update came a day after president Richard Beckman announced his exit from the company on LinkedIn, and following the platform’s decision to make staff cuts. The site launched in May 2023 and employed about 300 individuals before the cuts.

“Back in November, I had advised Jimmy Finkelstein of my decision to step down based on short-term health issues I have endured this past year and will be subsequently retiring from the corporate world at the end of this month,” Beckman wrote. “I will be helping with the transition this next few weeks then watching and cheering from the sidelines as my colleagues continue to pursue, with great passion, their noble mission to bring balance back to the newsroom.”

According to analytics company Comscore, The Messenger had 11 million total unique visitors and 88 million page views in October.

The Messenger launched with a $50 million investment from Stagwell Group, a holding company based in D.C. led by Mark Penn and former Hearst CEO Victor Ganzi, according to an individual with knowledge of the situation. Other investors were Loews CEO James Tisch, Apollo cofounder Josh Harris and Interactive Brokers founder and chair Thomas Peterffy.

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