BuzzFeed close to going public following merger

BuzzFeed close to going public following merger
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BuzzFeed is reportedly close to finalizing a deal to go public through a merger with a special-purpose acquisition company, commonly referred to as an SPAC.

The deal with 890 5th Avenue Partners Inc., an SPAC named after the Marvel Avengers superheroes’ headquarters and started by investor Adam Rothstein, could be announced as early as this week, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the situation.

The deal, according to the Journal, would generate funds for the media company, allowing it to potentially go after other acquisitions, including Complex Networks, a digital lifestyle publisher.

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Last month, rumors circulated that BuzzFeed was considering buying Complex in a deal that would also involve it merging with 890 5th Avenue Partners and going public.

BuzzFeed Founder and CEO Jonah Peretti, according to the Journal, is reportedly looking at the deal to acquire Complex and other organizations as a way to give the combined company enough scale to grow, despite the increasing superiority Google and Facebook have in the digital advertising industry.

The company will also reportedly look at the e-commerce and affiliate commerce industries as other avenues for growth.

Affiliate commerce, according to the Journal, involves earning money through selling products and handing off prospective customers to websites that sell goods they may be interested in.

The Journal noted, however, that there is no guarantee BuzzFeed will increase its influence in the digital-ad sector after acquiring Complex and other companies.

BuzzFeed declined to comment when reached by The Hill.

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News broke in November that BuzzFeed was set to purchase the news site HuffPost from Verizon Media as part of a stock deal.

BuzzFeed in March, three weeks after finalizing the deal to purchase HuffPost, announced layoffs in the HuffPost newsroom.

The layoffs affected 47 U.S. employees. BuzzFeed also revealed it was shutting down operations at HuffPost Canada later that month.

Peretti said the layoffs were made to “fast-track the path to profitability,” claiming that the move would allow the company to break even this year and eventually turn a profit.