Business

Verizon Media to sell news website HuffPost to BuzzFeed

Verizon Media says it's selling its news website HuffPost to BuzzFeed in a deal that will make it a minority shareholder in the online media site originally known for its quizzes and lists.

Deal will include partnership on content, minority stake in Buzzfeed for Verizon

Verizon Media and BuzzFeed will syndicate content across each other's platforms and explore ad opportunities, the companies said. (Richard Vogel/The Associated Press)

BuzzFeed is buying HuffPost from Verizon Media as part of a bigger deal that has the wireless giant investing in the digital-media company.

BuzzFeed and Verizon did not disclose terms of the deal. Verizon will be a minority shareholder in BuzzFeed and the two companies will partner on content and ads.

A downturn in advertising because of the pandemic has hurt both traditional and digital-only media organizations, resulting in layoffs and furloughs. Digital newsrooms had been consolidating even before the pandemic, including Vox's purchase of New York Magazine and its digital arms.

Verizon came to own HuffPost, co-founded by Arianna Huffington, through its acquisition of AOL in 2015. The country's biggest wireless provider also bought Yahoo in 2017 in an attempt to build a digital media business that could challenge Facebook. That Verizon Media business has struggled.

Deal closing in early 2021

BuzzFeed is known for its quizzes and lists but also invested in its news division. Its founder and CEO, Jonah Peretti, also co-founded HuffPost, then known as the Huffington Post, in 2005. AOL bought it for $315 million US in 2011.

Buzzfeed CEO Jonah Perett, seen here on Oct. 18, 2017, has told his employees he expects the deal to close at the beginning of 2021. (Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)

"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," Peretti said in a statement.

"With the addition of HuffPost, our media network will have more users, spending significantly more time with our content than any of our peers."

Peretti said in a memo to BuzzFeed employees that he expects the deal to close at the beginning of 2021.

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