US digital publisher BuzzFeed is to acquire HuffPost from Verizon as part of a wider deal that will see the telecoms giant invest in the digital media company.
BuzzFeed and Verizon did not disclose terms of the deal. Verizon will be a minority shareholder in BuzzFeed and the two companies will partner on content and ads.
A downturn in advertising due to the coronavirus pandemic has hurt both traditional and digital-only media organisations, resulting in redundancies and furloughs. Digital newsrooms had been consolidating even before the pandemic, including Vox’s purchase of New York Magazine and its digital arms.
Verizon came to own HuffPost, co-founded by Arianna Huffington, through its acquisition of AOL in 2015.
The country’s biggest telecoms operator also bought Yahoo in 2017 in an attempt to build a digital media business that could challenge Facebook. That Verizon Media business has struggled.
BuzzFeed is known for its quizzes and lists but has also invested in its news division. Its founder and CEO, Jonah Peretti, also co-founded HuffPost, then known as The Huffington Post, in 2005. AOL bought it for 315 million US dollars (£238 million) in 2011.
Mr Peretti said: “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.
“With the addition of HuffPost, our media network will have more users, spending significantly more time with our content than any of our peers.”
Mr Peretti said in a memo to BuzzFeed employees that he expects the deal to close at the beginning of 2021.