In an official statement, Verizon Media revealed on Thursday that BuzzFeed Inc. has agreed to acquire HuffPost in a stock deal, a decision expected to boost the growth of both digital media outlets. The new acquisition is part of a larger deal between BuzzFeed and Verizon Media.
"Verizon Media and BuzzFeed today announced a new strategic partnership across content and advertising, the acquisition of HuffPost by BuzzFeed, and an investment that will make Verizon Media a minority shareholder in BuzzFeed. From powering new consumer shopping experiences, to content syndication, to innovative ad products, the partnership will unlock new revenue opportunities for both media companies. The addition of HuffPost - which BuzzFeed will acquire - brings BuzzFeed a universally known brand with significant scale, and an audience complementary to its own," the statement reads.
Under the larger deal, the companies will syndicate content on their platforms and seek joint advertising opportunities as the deal will allow BuzzFeed to tap into Verizon Media's ad platforms. As part of the agreement, HuffPost will also contribute to Verizon Media's portfolio as an official partner, joining other partners, including The New York Times, USA Today, Associated Press, and Reuters.
A person familiar with the deal told the Wall Street Journal that Verizon Media will invest an unidentified amount of cash into Buzzfeed.
Jonah Peretti, BuzzFeed’s founder and chief executive, will lead the combined company.
“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,” Peretti said in the press release.
Despite the new agreement, however, HuffPost’s daily operations will not be impacted and the site will remain a “separate news organization” from BuzzFeed, BuzzFeed's editor-in-chief, Mark Schoofs, told employees. Meanwhile, a new editor-in-chief will be hired for HuffPost.
The Verizon media chief executive, Guru Gowrappan, revealed to the WSJ that the idea for a partnership between Verizon and BuzzFeed first arose during a meeting with Peretti at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) convention in Las Vegas earlier this year. The two discussed how the companies could potentially work together.
“Verizon Media’s strategy has evolved over the past two years to focus on our core strengths - ads, commerce, content and subscriptions,” Gowrappan said in the press release. “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 agreement follows BuzzFeed's laying off of nearly 70% of its furloughed staff in July, reportedly in the wake of the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.