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BuzzFeed Closes on Deal to go Public

BuzzFeed, the digital publisher, known for quizzes, listicles, and a news division that won its first Pulitzer Prize this month, is close to reaching a merger deal that would take the company public. Led by its founder and chief executive, Jonah Peretti, BuzzFeed has been in talks to merge with an already public shell company, 890 Fifth Avenue Partners, also known as a SPAC deal.

BuzzFeed started as an experiment in creating content meant to be shared on the web. BuzzFeed soon became one of the fastest-growing digital publishers, raised $500 million at a valuation of $1.7 billion, and was known as the future of news media. But in recent years, it has missed determined revenue targets, and some of its investors have unsettled for sale.

In 2019, BuzzFeed started to broaden its business, selling branded cookware and ramping up its product recommendation section, garnering a commission on each sale through affiliate marketing with Amazon and other companies. “Our model evolved,” Peretti said in an interview last year.

Peretti, who has sway over the BuzzFeed board despite owning a minority of shares, had talked about possible mergers with competitors, including Vice Media, Group Nine, and Vox Media. The idea was to create a digital-media giant, one that would have some leverage over Facebook and Google, platforms that continue to dominate online advertising.

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