On November 19, 2020, three dominant and well-known names announced a transaction and new partnership. It boils down to this: BuzzFeed will acquire HuffPost (Huffington Post) from Verizon Media. News didn’t end there, though. Through the transaction, Verizon will take a minority stake in BuzzFeed. Perhaps most significantly on an ongoing basis, Verizon Media and BuzzFeed agreed to syndicate content across their respective platforms. Bloomberg reports that the minority stake that Verizon will take in BuzzFeed extrapolates to a valuation of BuzzFeed of approximately $1.7 billion.
While the announcement indicates that BuzzFeed News and HuffPost will operate separately and distinctly, significant synergies and opportunities are anticipated and apparent. BuzzFeed will gain the ability to syndicate content across Verizon Media’s wide-ranging portfolio, which includes Yahoo. The acquisition of HuffPost extends BuzzFeed’s reach into a wider and wealthier demographic. The new cluster of relationships permits cross-pollination of content, but also advertising platforms and revenues. Verizon Media’s ubiquitous and dominant advertising platform across multiple channels — mobile, video, desktop, addressable and connected television, audio — is now accessible to BuzzFeed. BuzzFeed and Verizon Media will also create a new unit to develop monetization opportunities in new advertising domains including extended and augmented reality.
There is a bit of a “back to the future” twist to the announcement. One of Huff Post’s four founders in 2005 was Jonah Peretti, who is currently CEO of BuzzFeed. AOL purchased HuffPost in 2011, before Verizon took over AOL (and acquired HuffPost in the bargain) in 2015.
Verizon Communications trades under the symbol VZ on the NYSE. Over the last 52 weeks, it reached a high share price of $62.22 on December 20, 2019 and a low share price of $48.84 on March 25, 2020. On November 20, 2020, it closed at $60.21/share.