Posts tagged with "Jonah Peretti"

BuzzFeed cuts loose 47 on HuffPost team

March 11, 2021

Just three weeks after finalizing a deal to buy HuffPost, Jonah Peretti’s BuzzFeed is taking a buzzsaw to the left-leaning news and culture site, the New York Post reports.

HuffPost reported that Peretti—who is chief executive, now that BuzzFeed has sealed the deal to buy the site co-founded  by Arianna Huffington is 2005— told staffers that the layoffs decision was made to “fast-track the path to profitability” for the money-losing website. The site’s losses totaled around $20 million in 2020, he said.

BuzzFeed on Tuesday said it made a series of cuts in HuffPost that will result in 47 U.S. jobs lost, including Executive Editor Hillary Frey and Executive Editor International Louise Roug.

The Canadian version of the website also will be shuttered.

The HuffPost union, organized as part of the Writers Guild of America-East, blasted the layoffs on Tuesday, March 9.

“Today, we learned that 33 of our colleagues—nearly 30% of our unit—will be laid off. We are devastated and infuriated, particularly after an exhausting year of covering a pandemic and working from home,” said the union. “This is also happening less than a month after HuffPost was acquired by BuzzFeed. We never got a fair shot to prove our worth.”

Former HuffPost owner Verizon recognized the union in 2016 and agreed to a new three-year contract in 2019, which remains in effect and will result in severance for the laid-off staffers, the union said.

BuzzFeed agreed in November to buy the site founded by Aianna Huffington, Peretti, Andrew Breitbart, and venture capitalist Kenneth Lerer.

Terms of the all-stock transaction between Verizon and BuzzFeed were not revealed, but Verizon maintained a minority stake in the site and has also pledged an investment into BuzzFeed as part of the deal.

Peretti will be CEO of the combined operations—but says he will run them as “separate distinct news organizations.”

“We want to ensure the homepage remains a top destination on the internet,” Peretti reportedly told staffers. “We also want to maintain high traffic, preserve your most powerful journalism, lean more deeply into politics and breaking news, and build a stronger business for affiliate revenue and shopping content.”

BuzzFeed made deep staff cuts at the start of the pandemic, but he said it had returned to profitability.

According to the Post, Mark Schoofs, the editor-in-chief of BuzzFeed, is seeking a new-editor-in chief at HuffPost, who will report to him. The post has been vacant for a year since Lydia Polgreen jumped to Spotify’s podcasting unit Gimlet Media in March 2020. Frey had been overseeing it since then.

Research contact: @nypost

Big deal: BuzzFeed acquires HuffPost

November 23, 2020

Digital culture and news company BuzzFeed has agreed to buy HuffPost from Verizon Media, the companies announced on November 19—a move that combines two of the internet’s largest consumer media properties, NBC News reports.

Verizon also will make an investment to become a minority shareholder in BuzzFeed—and the deal will see the two companies partner on shopping experiences for consumers, content syndication across each other’s platforms, and ad products.

BuzzFeed paid for HuffPost with company shares, the value of which was not disclosed. Verizon Media acquired HuffPost when it bought AOL for a reported $4.4 billion in 2015. NBCUniversal, the parent company of NBC News, is an investor in BuzzFeed.

The merged company will be run by Jonah Peretti, BuzzFeed’s co-founder and CEO, who is also one of the co-founders of the original HuffPost site, originally called The Huffington Post. An editor-in-chief will be brought on to head HuffPost, which will be run as its own brand and separate site.

I still vividly remember the night we launched HuffPost and the excitement of growing it into a major news outlet during those early years,” Peretti said in an internal email to BuzzFeed staff, obtained by NBC News. “But we aren’t buying HuffPost because of its illustrious past or my personal connection; we pursued this opportunity because we are excited about the future of HuffPost and all the potential it has to continue to define the media landscape for years to come.”

On Thursday, Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington tweeted that she was “so happy” to see the company joining forces with BuzzFeed 15 years after Peretti helped found it. “Such exciting news and looking forward to all that’s to come,” she said.

The deal combines two of the most successful digital media companies from different eras. HuffPost emerged as one of the first successful digital media outlets of the 2000s. BuzzFeed, launched in 2006, became the dominant digital media operation years later, from a surge of readers who came primarily through social media platforms, especially Facebook.

While each was able to amass a sizable audience and attract millions of dollars in private investment, both struggled to turn a profit. Facebook and Google have remained the primary destination for digital advertising spending, with most digital media websites facing similar challenges as BuzzFeed and HuffPost.

Peretti said that the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the shift to digital and benefited digital-first companies and that BuzzFeed hopes this deal will enable it to “be the formidable leader in our space.”

Research contact: @NBCNews