Buzzfeed has agreed to acquire Verizon Media-owned HuffPost in a stock deal, in a move that will tie together two of the largest digital media players.
The two news sites will be able to syndicate content on each other’s platforms and explore joint advertising opportunities under the agreement.
“From powering new consumer shopping experiences, to content syndication, to innovative ad products, the partnership will unlock new revenue opportunities for both media companies,” Buzzfeed said in a statement.
Verizon will acquire a minority stake in Buzzfeed as part of the contract. It will also make an undisclosed cash investment in Buzzfeed on top of the stock deal.
Buzzfeed chief and HuffPost co-founder Jonah Peretti will head up the joint operation, while the company leads the search for a new HuffPost editor.
“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.
“With the addition of HuffPost, our media network will have more users, spending significantly more time with our content than any of our peers.”
In a letter to staff, Buzzfeed editor-in-chief Mark Schoofs said: “Buzzfeed News will remain a separate news organisation, as will HuffPost.
Our business strategy is to make sure that the two newsrooms maintain their own identities to preserve the big and loyal audiences that each has build up.”
It comes after both platforms saw early success dwarfed by tech giants’ entry to the digital news landscape.
Facebook and Google have both hoovered up digital advertising revenue in recent years, while the pandemic spelt the death knell for Buzzfeed’s UK branch.
Buzzfeed UK haemorrhaged £22.8m in five years before closing down its news operation earlier this year.
The deal marks the latest in a series of recent digital media acquisitions, after Vice Media last November took over female-focused Refinery 29 and Vox Media last September acquired New York Media to form a $4bn company.
Verizon Media chief executive Guru Gowrappan said the online publisher has been locked in talks with Buzzfeed for months in attempts to hash out a deal.
“While considering opportunities to work together, naturally, Jonah and I also discussed the property he co-founded, HuffPost,” he said.
“We quickly realised Buzzfeed’s strategy would complement HuffPost’s roadmap, injecting it with new energy and growing the brand into the future. We are deeply invested in the continued success of HuffPost and I couldn’t think of a better partner to take HuffPost to the next level.”