Buzzfeed is under fierce pressure from financial authorities for failing to produce its company accounts more than two months after the deadline.
Government agency Companies House has lodged a proposal to strike Buzzfeed from the official register as its 2018 accounts, which were due by 30 September this year, have still not been submitted.
A spokesperson for Buzzfeed said the firm would be filing its accounts soon, but declined to comment on the cause of the delay.
The delayed accounts have fuelled speculation that the publisher could be in financial difficulty, and an industry source told City A.M. the company was “running at an unsustainable rate”.
Buzzfeed’s accounts for 2017 showed a pre-tax loss of £1.9m on revenue of £33.4m, while the firm owed £7.7m to creditors at the end of the year. However, auditors Blick Rothenberg said they had received assurances of continuing support from Buzzfeed’s US parent company.
In January, Buzzfeed slashed its London newsroom in half as part of a wider effort to reduce global headcount by 15 per cent.
In an email to staff, chief executive Jonah Peretti said that while revenue was growing, the company needed to cut costs and revamp its business model.
Buzzfeed has so far operated on funding and advertising, but a squeeze on the digital ad market – largely caused by the dominance of Google and Facebook – has left many digital publishers looking for new sources of revenue.
Peretti told the New York Times last year that his company would consider a merger with other online publishers in a bid to negotiate better terms with tech giants.
Since then Vice and Refinery29 have merged in a $400m deal, while Vox has snapped up the publisher of New York Magazine.
Companies House said it lodges compulsory strike-off actions when it has “reasonable cause to believe that a company is not carrying on business or in operation”.
Buzzfeed has two months to file its overdue accounts before it is dissolved.