Vivek Ramaswamy Calls for New Buzzfeed Board Members, Heavy Cost-Cutting After Major Investment

“I believe BuzzFeed can still become a more valuable company … but this requires a major shift in strategy,” the entrepreneur writes

Vivek Ramaswamy
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Vivek Ramaswamy is already laying out his vision for BuzzFeed, urging heavy cuts, a strategy shift and additional board seats, according to a letter sent by the former GOP presidential candidate who recently invested in the media company.

Last week, Ramaswamy acquired a 7.7% activist stake in BuzzFeed, or 2,723,927 shares in a series of purchases from March 14 through May 21, according to an SEC filing. In the letter, Ramaswamy says that “BuzzFeed has lost its way,” with a “dying or dead” social-publishing strategy.

“I own your stock because I believe BuzzFeed can still become a more valuable company than at its initial listing, but this requires a major shift in strategy,” Ramaswamy wrote. 

Ramaswamy called for three new board seats and for the media company to dramatically cut costs and lean down the company. 

The former Republican presidential hopeful acknowledged that “there will be a temptation to reject what you are about to hear on partisan grounds because I was recently a Republican presidential candidate. It may not be a bad thing for you to hear from someone who shares views in common with >150 million Americans you’re largely missing today, but that’s beside the point.”

Ramaswamy encouraged a “path forward,” for the media company, a three-pronged plan which includes getting back to a startup size, focusing on audio and video content production, and distinguishing the BuzzFeed brand. 

“I urge you to add these directors to your board by July 15,” Ramaswamy wrote in the letter. “I am prepared to arrange meetings between your board and these director candidates over the next several weeks.”

“This is the lifeline that BuzzFeed needs,” he continued. “For the sake of your shareholders: don’t let it slip.” 

In a response to Ramaswamy’s letter, BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti said “I’m glad you think BuzzFeed is undervalued – I totally agree!”

However, Peretti noted that “Based on your letter, you have some fundamental misunderstandings about the drivers of our business, the values of our audience, and the mission of the company. I’m very skeptical it makes business sense to turn BuzzFeed into a creator platform for inflammatory political pundits. And we’re definitely not going to issue an apology for our Pulitzer Prize-winning journalism.”

“That said, I welcome outside perspectives from shareholders and am open to hearing more from you,” Peretti continued. “I’d also love the opportunity to better explain the strategy that we’ve outlined on our recent earnings calls, and why we’re so confident it will create the most value.”

BuzzFeed has struggled significantly since it went public via SPAC in 2021. In April 2023, the media company announced that it would be shuttering its news division and laying off around 180 staffers across the company. Then in February, BuzzFeed sold Complex to Ntwrk for $108.6 million, while laying off more staffers. 

Earlier this month, Buzzfeed reported a first-quarter loss of $35.7 million, or 72 cents per share, on revenue of $44.8 million.  

Ramaswamy, 38, suspended his campaign for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination in January, endorsing former president Donald Trump shortly after. The entrepreneur amassed his wealth in the intersection of finance and pharmaceutical research. 


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