Posts tagged with "Merger"

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

AT&T-Time Warner deal to close next week

June 14, 2018

If only Alexander Graham Bell could see them now: On June 12, federal Judge Richard Leon handed down a huge victory to AT&T (which began business in 1877 as Bell Telephone)—granting the telecom giant a go-ahead for its  $85 billion acquisition of mass media and entertainment conglomerate Time Warner, a decision that promises to reshape the media industry.

After a six-week trial, Judge Leon—who serves as a senior U.S. district judge for the District of Columbia— ruled that the government had failed to prove its case that the deal violates antitrust law. According to a report by CNN Money, “using unusually strong language,” Leon discouraged the Justice Department from asking him to put the ruling on hold while it considers an appeal. He said such a stay would be “manifestly unjust” because it would have the effect of killing the acquisition.

In a formal statement released by AT&T, General Counsel David McAtee, commented: “We are pleased that, after conducting a full and fair trial on the merits, the Court has categorically rejected the government’s lawsuit to block our merger with Time Warner. We thank the Court for its thorough and timely examination of the evidence, and we compliment our colleagues at the Department of Justice on their dedicated representation of the government. We look forward to closing the merger on or before June 20 so we can begin to give consumers video entertainment that is more affordable, mobile, and innovative.

Following that closing, HBO, CNN, Warner Bros. and Time Warner’s other brands will change hands next week—becoming the second largest media company (valued at 282 billion) in the United States, after Amazon (which is valued at $817 billion).

During his campaign, CNN noted, President Trump had objected to the merger on the grounds that, “As an example of the power structure I’m fighting, AT&T is buying Time Warner and thus CNN—a deal we will not approve in my administration because it’s too much concentration of power in the hands of too few.”

A new poll of 1,502 registered Republican voters shows that a majority of President Trump’s supporters oppose the pending AT&T-Time Warner merger. The survey from trade group Incompas and IMGE, a GOP polling firm, shows that 60% of the president’s base said they agree with his campaign pledge to block the AT&T-Time Warner merger. That figure drops to 57% among all Republicans and to 42% among voters overall.

Research contact: @TeamIMGE