Buzzfeed buying HuffPost from Verizon in stock deal

Buzzfeed CEO Jonah Peretti poses for a portrait at Buzzfeed's New York Headquarters on Dec. 14, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images)

Buzzfeed Inc. is buying Verizon Media’s HuffPost in an all-stock deal, the companies announced on Thursday. The acquisition is part of a larger deal that has the wireless giant investing in the digital-media company.

The deal between BuzzFeed and Verizon Media, a division of Verizon Communications, will include syndicating content across each other’s properties and exploring advertising opportunities, the companies said. 

Verizon Media will also get a minority stake in Buzzfeed.

A downturn in advertising due to the coronavirus pandemic has hurt both traditional and digital-only media organizations, resulting in layoffs and furloughs. Digital newsrooms had been consolidating even before the pandemic, including Vox’s purchase of New York Magazine and its digital arms.

Verizon came to own HuffPost, co-founded by Arianna Huffington, through its acquisition of AOL in 2015. The country’s biggest wireless provider also bought Yahoo in 2017 in an attempt to build a digital media business that could challenge Facebook. But the Verizon Media business has struggled.

BuzzFeed is known for its quizzes and lists but also invested in its news division. 

Its founder and CEO, Jonah Peretti, also co-founded HuffPost, then known as The Huffington Post, in 2005. AOL bought it for $315 million in 2011.

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

Peretti said in a memo to BuzzFeed employees that he expects the deal to close at the beginning of 2021.

This story was reported from Cincinnati. The Associated Press contributed.