Buzzfeed to buy Huffpost as part of new 'strategic partnership' with Verizon Media

Buzzfeed

Buzzfeed has agreed a deal to buy Huffpost from Verizon Media.

The deal, announced on Thursday afternoon, is part of a wider “strategic partnership” agreed between Buzzfeed and Verizon Media.

The tie-up will lead to Verizon Media – a division of Verizon Communications that also owns Yahoo and Techcrunch – becoming a minority shareholder in Buzzfeed.

Verizon Media and Buzzfeed plan to collaborate in different areas, sharing  content and advertising resources.

The companies said Buzzfeed News and Huffpost will remain “separate, distinct” news organisations.

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Huffpost, formerly known as Huffington Post, was founded in 2005 by a team led by Arianna Huffington. In 2011, it was sold to AOL for $315m. AOL itself was bought by Verizon in 2015.

Verizon was reported to be trying to find a buyer for Huffpost around a year ago. The New York Post reported in September that Verizon was struggling to find a willing buyer.

Like many other digital news businesses, Huffpost has suffered a torrid year at the hands of the Covid-19 crisis, which has pummelled the advertising market.

Buzzfeed has also struggled and was forced to close its dedicated news operations in the UK and Australia earlier this year. However, the company does expect to turn a profit this year.

Read more: BuzzFeed closes dedicated UK and Australian news operations

Jonah Peretti, the founder and chief executive of Buzzfeed, was part of the original team that set up Huffpost.

He said: “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.”

As part of the deal, Verizon Media and Buzzfeed will syndicate content across each other’s platforms. They will also create a joint innovation group to collaborate on monetisation strategies “and leverage emerging ad formats, including extended reality (XR) and AR applications”. 

Explaining how the deal came about, Verizon Media chief executive Guru Gowrappan said: “While considering opportunities to work together, naturally, Jonah and I also discussed the property he co-founded, Huffpost.

“We quickly realised Buzzfeed’s strategy would complement Huffpost’s roadmap, injecting it with new energy and growing the brand into the future. We are deeply invested in the continued success of Huffpost and I couldn’t think of a better partner to take Huffpost to the next level.”

Huffpost will continue to be an “official publishing partner” to Verizon Media’s portfolio, along with the likes of USA Today, the New York Times, Associated Press and Reuters.

Huffpost content will appear on Yahoo channels, and Buzzfeed will be able to syndicate content on Yahoo. Verizon will continue to manage sales for Huffpost’s ad inventory.

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