BuzzFeed IPO via SPAC Deal

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Rebecca Cattlin
By :  ,  Former Senior Financial Writer

What is BuzzFeed?

BuzzFeed is a media news company delivering social news and entertainment. It was founded in 2006 by Jonah Peretti, John S. Johnson III, and Kenneth Lerer.

The site is most well-known for its ‘clickbait’ listicles and online quizzes, but Peretti’s desire for the company to move toward more serious journalism led to the launch of Buzzfeed News in 2011. In 2021, BuzzFeed news won the Pulitzer Price for reporting on Uyghur internment in China.

Is BuzzFeed publicly traded?

Buzzfeed is not yet publicly traded, but BuzzFeed Inc is due to go public through a SPAC deal with blank-check company 890 Fifth Avenue Partners Inc. Following the deal, the parent company will be named BuzzFeed, and will be listed under the ticker ‘BZFD’

Special purpose acquisition vehicles, or SPACs, are shell companies that raise funds through an initial public offering to take a private company public through a merger at a later date. 890 Fifth Avenue Partners is a company that’s focused on media and entertainment. In fact, 890 Fifth Avenue is named after the fictional Avengers mansion. It holds $288 million in cash in its trust account after its IPO earlier this year.

In addition, BuzzFeed secured $150 million in financing led by Redwood Capital Management and including CrossingBridge Advisors, Cohanzick Management and Silver Rock Financial.

BuzzFeed said it plans to buy Complex Networks, a youth entertainment company from Hearst and Verizon, for $300 million, as part of its SPAC deal. This consists of $200 million in cash and $100 million of equity in BuzzFeed.

Discover what happens on the day of an IPO.

When is the BuzzFeed IPO?

There is no set date for the BuzzFeed IPO, but the SPAC deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2021.

What is the value of BuzzFeed?

BuzzFeed’s estimated value in its SPAC deal is $1.5 billion. It’s reported that BuzzFeed last raised $200 million in November 2016, giving it a post-money valuation of $1.7 billion.

How to buy BuzzFeed Training Holdings shares

When BuzzFeed lists, you’ll be able to trade its shares in the same way as any other public company on the stock market.

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How does BuzzFeed make money?

BuzzFeed makes money through display advertising, affiliate marketing, native and podcast advertising, as well as the distribution of their own digital and physical products. Users can also pay $5 per month or $100 annually to get access to BuzzFeed News.

BuzzFeed projected its revenue would be a mix of 44% advertising, 31% commerce, and 25% content by 2024. It expects sales to grow from $421 million in 2020 to $1.06 billion in 2024.

BuzzFeed has also raised nearly $500 million in Venture Capital funding from investors including NBCUniveral, Andreessen Horowitz, Capital Factory, Crosscut Ventures, General Atlantic, Lerer Hippeau, New Enterprise Associates, Founder Collective, RRE Ventures, Hearst Ventures, and SoftBank.

Is BuzzFeed profitable?

BuzzFeed reported profit in 2020 for the first time since 2014. Despite this profitability, BuzzFeed’s revenue was down from $425 million in 2019 to $421 million in 2020, even with the addition of revenue from Complex on a pro-forma.

Learn how to read a company earnings report.

The company had to make difficult cost-cutting decisions in order to maintain profit throughout the pandemic – it reduced expenses by $30 million, laid off 50 workers in 2020 (following the dismissal of 200 workers in 2019, and 100 more in 2017). There were also salary cuts for staff, while CEO Peretti took no salary during the pandemic.

The company is now hiring for the first time since the pandemic hit, which many are seeing as evidence that the company is focused again on growth rather than merely keeping its head above water.

According to the company's latest traffic report in Q1 2020, BuzzFeed had more than 1.2 billion page views across its collective websites during the month of March alone. However, independent reports suggest the company’s views have been steadily decreasing. Buzzfeed recorded its all-time record of 424.4 million monthly users in July 2017, and as of July 2021 is recording averages of 54 million.

Once it’s public, BuzzFeed has a projected compound annual growth rate of 26% for revenue through 2024. CEO Jonah Peretti said the company is projecting more than $500 million in revenue for 2021 with the addition of Complex, which is expected to add $119 million to BuzzFeed’s top line. Last year, Complex had $100 million in sales, according to BuzzFeed’s financial deck.

What is BuzzFeed’s business strategy?

BuzzFeed’s business strategy is based around becoming an increasingly large influence on the media industry. This is based on growing its market share and viewership through acquisitions.

The latest addition to the company’s portfolio is Complex Networks, which focuses on streetwear and fashion, food, music, and pop culture. This sits alongside the firms two Pulitzer Prize-winning news organisations – BuzzFeed News and HuffPost – the flagship brand BuzzFeed and Tasty Lifestyle Brands, which is the world's largest food network. Peretti doesn’t intend to stop there either; he’s already said there are more opportunities that BuzzFeed will likely pursue.

Peretti has previously said the acquisitions of both Complex Networks and HuffPost will help BuzzFeed to scale up in the face of competition from Google and Facebook for digital advertising business.

Who are BuzzFeed’s competitors?

BuzzFeed’s main competitors in the social news category include Vox Media, VICE Media, SAY Media, The Huffington Post, Mashable and LadBible. LadBible is also seeking to go public on the LSE later this year, with a valuation of between £350 and £400 million.

Who are the directors of BuzzFeed?

  • Jonah Peretti - Founder and CEO
  • John Johnson – Co-founder
  • Felicia DellaFortuna – Chief Financial Officer
  • Peter Wang – Chief Technology Officer
  • Rhonda Powell – Chief Legal Officer
  • Carole Robinson – Chief Communications Officer
  • Katie Sitter – Chief People Officer
  • Dao Nguyen – Publisher
  • Mark Schoofs – Editor in Chief BuzzFeed News
  • Adam Rothstein - Executive Chairman of 890 Fifth Avenue Partners
  • Greg Coleman - Advisor to the SPAC and former BuzzFeed President
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