Verizon Media sells HuffPost to BuzzFeed

Mariam Cheik-Hussein
By Mariam Cheik-Hussein | 20 November 2020

Verizon Media has sold its digital publication HuffPost to BuzzFeed in a stock deal.

As part of the purchase, Buzzfeed will bring Huffpost into its portfolio of brands, which includes BuzzFeed, BuzzFeed News and Tasty, while Verizon Media will take a minority stake in BuzzFeed.

The two companies have also entered into a strategic partnership across content and advertising, with both agreeing to syndicate content across each other’s platforms, create an “innovation group” to explore monetisation opportunities, and leverage emerging ad formats, including extended reality (XR) and AR apps.

The sale comes as digital media publishers struggle to find strong advertising revenue, with brands such as BuzzFeed and Vice Media Group making signicat cuts to their news teams this year.

“Verizon Media’s strategy has evolved over the past two years to focus on our core strengths- ads, commerce, content and subscriptions,” says Verizon Media CEO Guru Gowrappan.

“We’ve created a powerhouse ecosystem, built on a trusted network, that delivers an end-to-end experience for consumers and advertisers. The partnership with BuzzFeed complements our roadmap while also accelerating our transformation and growth.”

The sale of HuffPost, which was acquired by Verizon in 2011, brings it back to cofounder Jonah Peretti, who also founded BuzzFeed.

In May, BuzzFeed shut its Australian and British news operations, citing economic and strategic reasons. BuzzFeed says BuzzFeed News and HuffPost will operate as separate, distinct news organisations.

In Australia, HuffPost announced its reinvestment in the local market last year. The publication had originally reduced its team in 2017 from about 30 members, when its joint venture with Fairfax Media ended, and now has a team of about four. A Verizon Media spokesperson has confirmed to AdNews that all four Australian-based HuffPost staff will be offered employment within BuzzFeed.

“We’re excited about our partnership with Verizon Media, and mutual benefits that will come from syndicating content across each other’s properties, collaborating on innovative ad products and the future of commerce, and tapping into the strength and creativity of Verizon Media Immersive,” says BuzzFeed CEO and founder Jonah Peretti.

“I have vivid memories of growing HuffPost into a major news outlet in its early years, but BuzzFeed is making this acquisition because we believe in the future of HuffPost and the potential it has to continue to define the media landscape for years to come.

“With the addition of HuffPost, our media network will have more users, spending significantly more time with our content than any of our peers.”

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