BuzzFeed Set For Possible Political Shift

May 31, 2024

Activist investor Vivek Ramaswamy has called for Buzzfeed to include more right-wing voices and implement significant job cuts following his acquisition of nearly eight per cent of the digital media company. In a detailed seven-page letter to Buzzfeed’s board, the former Republican presidential candidate outlined his vision for the company, emphasizing the inclusion of conservative commentators like Candace Owens and Tucker Carlson, according to Bloomberg.

Ramaswamy’s recent disclosure of a 7.7 per cent stake in Buzzfeed aimed to “shift its strategy,” which led to a roughly 14 per cent rise in the company’s shares. As of now, he is the second-largest Class A shareholder. The stock saw an additional 10 per cent increase as Ramaswamy proposed a new strategy to revive the struggling business, which has faced challenges since going public in 2021.

Ramaswamy believes the current social-internet model is obsolete and that Buzzfeed lacks a viable strategy. He proposed a three-phase plan: reducing the company to a startup size, investing in creator-led audio and video content, and establishing Buzzfeed as a bold and distinctive brand. He also intends to nominate three directors to Buzzfeed’s board soon.

After dropping out of the presidential race in January and endorsing Donald Trump, Ramaswamy has remained a prominent figure. Trump did not select him as a running mate but hinted at a significant role for Ramaswamy if he wins the election.

Buzzfeed, well-known for its quizzes and listicles, has faced financial difficulties, leading to the closure of its news division and the layoff of 15 per cent of its workforce last year. Earlier this year, Buzzfeed sold its media company Complex for $108.6 million and further reduced its staff by 16 per cent to cut costs. Additionally, Buzzfeed UK’s editorial and commercial teams, including Huffpost UK, are set to transition to The Independent as part of a multi-year licensing deal announced in March.