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January 24, 2019updated 30 Sep 2022 7:24am

Buzzfeed to cut 15 per cent of overall workforce in restructure feared to affect UK

By Charlotte Tobitt

Buzzfeed is cutting 15 per cent of its staff globally in a restructure designed to reduce costs and “improve our operating model so we can thrive and control our own destiny”, with UK staff likely to be affected.

In an email to staff, Buzzfeed chief executive Jonah Peretti said there would be a 15 per cent headcount reduction, with reports suggesting this could result in up to 250 jobs being lost.

Peretti confirmed that layoffs would take place next week.

Press Gazette understands the upcoming cuts are likely to affect Buzzfeed’s UK teams, but that staff will be given more information by Monday.

The announcement came just days after Buzzfeed UK editor Janine Gibson announced her departure after more than three years in the top job.

And one year after Buzzfeed UK saw an exodus of newsroom talent as 23 editorial redundancies were made.

In his email, seen by Press Gazette, Peretti told staff: “I’m so proud of what our team accomplished over the last year, including diversifying our revenue and growing our business double digits.

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“Unfortunately, revenue growth by itself isn’t enough to be successful in the long run.

“The restructuring we are undertaking will reduce our costs and improve our operating model so we can thrive and control our own destiny, without ever needing to raise funding again.

“These changes will allow us to be the clear winner in the market as the economics of digital media continue to improve.”

He added: “Even though I’m confident this is the right business decision, it is upsetting and disappointing.”

The struggles came despite “extensive” work over the past few months “examining the trends in our business and the evolving economics of the digital platforms”, Peretti said.

“We’ve developed a good understanding of where we can consolidate our teams, focus in on the content that is working, and achieve the right cost structure to support our multi-revenue model.

“We are confident the changes we are making will put us on a firm foundation and allow us to invest and grow sustainably for years to come.”

Financial figures filed last month showed that Buzzfeed UK made a pre-tax loss of £1.9m on turnover of £33.4m in 2017, with a total loss of £2.3m for the year.

Despite its losses, Buzzfeed UK’s directors said they had “received assurances” that its US parent company will continue to support it for at least a further 12 months.

Picture: Reuters/Brendan McDermid

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