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BuzzFeed Hosts Press Conference To Announce Plans To Become Public Company By Merging With 890 5th Avenue Partners In New York On Thursday, June 24

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BuzzFeed is selling off Complex Media to an e-commerce platform to firm up its financial footing and also announced company-wide layoffs.

According to reports, BuzzFeed has sold off Complex Media to the Ntwrk e-commerce platform. The group announced the sale on Wednesday (February 21), which cost $108.6 million in an all-cash deal. Universal Music Group will serve as a strategic partner in the deal, with Jimmy Iovine, Goldman Sachs, and Main Street Advisors serving as investors. The key franchises of Complex including First We Feast, and Hot Ones, will remain under BuzzFeed Inc.’s umbrella. Ntwrk released a video reel announcing the acquisition and their plans of the new company being “an e-commerce platform anchored in sneakers, streetwear and collectibles with content and music.”

The deal also includes BuzzFeed receiving $5.7 million for Complex’s use of their New York offices in addition to “severance- and other employment-related costs.” BuzzFeed also announced that there would be a round of layoffs to reduce costs, expected to cull about 16% of remaining employees. It’s the second such round since last April when BuzzFeed closed its news division and let go of 180 employees.

“The sale of Complex represents an important strategic step for BuzzFeed Inc. as we adapt our business to be more profitable, more nimble and more innovative,” said BuzzFeed Inc. CEO Jonah Peretti in a press release. “This is also an opportunity to unlock greater value for the Complex brand by combining it with Ntwrk’s expansive commerce-driven business.” BuzzFeed originally acquired Complex Media in 2021 for a price tag of $294 million. The brand said it will provide further details on its restructuring on February 28.

“Complex has been a beacon of culture and innovation for over two decades,” Ntwrk co-founder Aaron Levant said in a statement. “My journey with Complex began as an admirer of their original magazine in 2002 and it has now come full circle as I step into the leadership role. Alongside this impressive team, we will create the definitive global content, commerce, and experiential platform of convergence culture.” Interscope Geffen A&M and Capitol Music Group have already declared intentions to work with the new company. “Combining the power and reach of Complex with the Ntwrk engine serving creators across music, fashion, and art will be transformative for the next generation of consumer technology,” Iovine said in a statement concerning the deal.