BuzzFeed buys HuffPost as digital media sector consolidates

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BuzzFeed has acquired HuffPost from the telecoms group Verizon, within the newest transfer to consolidate the ailing digital media sector. 

Below the phrases of the deal, Verizon’s media arm will emerge with a minority stake in BuzzFeed. The teams additionally mentioned they might syndicate content material throughout one another’s websites and accomplice on promoting initiatives.

BuzzFeed shouldn’t be spending any money for HuffPost. For its half, Verizon may even inject money together with the enterprise in return for the minority stake in BuzzFeed. The dimensions of the stake and money concerned couldn’t instantly be realized.

The deal comes at a time when digital media firms, which as soon as attracted billions of {dollars} from enterprise capitalists, are struggling to remain afloat as already shrinking internet marketing revenues have taken an extra hit from the coronavirus pandemic. 

Whereas publishers akin to The New York Instances and the Monetary Instances have subscription income to cushion the blow, digital media teams rely extra on advertisements. 

Jonah Peretti, chief govt and founding father of BuzzFeed, sounded the alarm two years in the past when he predicted gamers within the sector would want to band collectively to attain scale and compete with huge expertise firms. 

On Thursday, he mentioned the settlement with Verizon would give his media firm “extra customers, spending considerably extra time with our content material than any of our friends”. 

Mr Peretti was one of many unique co-founders of The Huffington Put up in 2005, together with Arianna Huffington. In 2011 AOL purchased the corporate for $315m, and it turned a part of Verizon in 2015 when the telecoms group acquired AOL. 

The FT reported final yr that Verizon was sounding out consumers for HuffPost.

There have been quite a lot of casualties and offers within the digital media trade over the previous two years. Vox purchased New York Media, the corporate behind the flagship journal and websites together with Vulture, whereas Group 9 acquired PopSugar and Vice purchased Refinery 29. Different websites, akin to Mic and Tavi Gevinson’s Rookie, have shut down. 

BuzzFeed anticipated it might be worthwhile this yr, regardless of the carnage in promoting within the first half of the yr.

The group within the third quarter made a revenue for the primary time since 2014, based on an inside memo considered by the FT. 

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