HuffPost laying off 47 after acquisition by BuzzFeed
BuzzFeed announced layoffs in the HuffPost newsroom on Tuesday, just three weeks after finalizing a deal to purchase HuffPost from Verizon Media.
The layoffs will affect 47 U.S. employees. BuzzFeed is also shutting down operations at HuffPost Canada later this month.
The layoffs were made to “fast-track the path to profitability,” BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti told staffers according to HuffPost. Peretti said it would allow the company to break even this year and to eventually turn a profit.
The layoffs come amid a pandemic that has been devastating to many news companies, and The HuffPost Union, organized as part of the Writers Guild of America East, said it was “devastated and infuriated” by the decision.
“Today, we learned that 33 of our colleagues — nearly 30% of our unit — will be laid off,” the group wrote in a statement.
“We are devastated and infuriated, particularly after an exhausting year of covering a pandemic and working from home. This is also happening less than a month after HuffPost was acquired by BuzzFeed. We never got a fair shot to prove our worth.”
BuzzFeed put the finishing touches on a deal to acquire the news organization from Verizon Media on Feb. 16.
When the transaction took place, Verizon Media said the two newsrooms would operate as “separate, distinct news organizations” with their own websites and editorial staff. Peretti was tapped to lead the combined company, according to HuffPost.
In May, BuzzFeed announced that it would furlough dozens of employees at the end of the month to reduce losses, The Hill reported. However, in July, The Wrap reported that 67% percent of those furloughed were ultimately laid off.
HuffPost was co-founded in 2005 by Peretti, Arianna Huffington, Andrew Breitbart and Kenneth Lerer. The next year, Peretti started BuzzFeed.