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Vivek Ramaswamy acquires activist stake in BuzzFeed, says ‘stay tuned’

[Source]

Former Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy has taken an activist stake in BuzzFeed, hinting at a potential strategic shift for the left-leaning media company.

Key points:

  • Ramaswamy acquired 7.7% of BuzzFeed’s share, a Securities and Exchange Commission form signed on May 14 revealed.

  • The purchase is valued at about $4 million.

  • BuzzFeed’s shares reportedly rose by 22% to around $3.05 early Wednesday following the news.

The details:

  • As an activist investor — defined as an investor who purchases a significant minor stake in a company — Ramaswamy gains the power to influence BuzzFeed's strategy and organizational structure. The SEC filing states that he will "seek to engage in a dialogue" with the company's board of directors and/or management about "numerous operational and strategic opportunities to maximize shareholder value."

  • Founded by Jonah Peretti in 2006, BuzzFeed saw a revenue decline after the social media boom of the mid-2010s. Several rounds of layoffs occurred soon after Peretti took the company public, with the most recent — taking out 16% of its employees — happening in February.

  • AllSides, a company that estimates media bias, rates BuzzFeed News as "left," which suggests the alignment of its content with "liberal, progressive, or left-wing thought and/or policy agendas." The media outlet has held up its progressive reputation through the years.

  • Describing it as an “interesting bet,” a source reportedly close to Ramaswamy told Mediate on Wednesday, “Vivek, the anti-woke warrior, buying a material stake in one of America’s most woke media entities would signal to this long time investor that he intends to make it a free speech platform.”

  • Ramaswamy has not elaborated on his plans, only telling multiple media outlets to "stay tuned." In a statement, BuzzFeed said it is “purposely structured to protect its editorial integrity” and “always open to hearing ideas from our shareholders.”

 

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