Digiday+ Member Article

The talk of mergers in digital media might never die down, driven by a desire for top digital publishers to achieve profitability and sustainability, as well as media reporters such as myself who can’t seem to let the subject go. But let’s reiterate this once more: barring a drastic change in circumstances, a high-profile merger is unlikely to happen anytime soon.

The key hits:

  • BuzzFeed is laying off 15 percent of employees, which has prompted a new round of speculation about a potential merger among big digital publishers.
  • BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti and Group Nine Media CEO Ben Lerer have discussed a merger.
  • Sources confirm that Peretti and Lerer have talked, but they always talk. There is no deal on the horizon.
  • Media mergers are an exciting idea, but logistically difficult. For one: Investors would be forced to significantly write down their investments, which they are not keen on doing.
  • Consolidation is likely in digital publishing, but it’s not ideal if the move is made in desperation.

As BuzzFeed undergoes its latest round of layoffs, which will see the company shrink by 15 percent and let go of more than 200 employees, the prospect of some sort of tie-up between BuzzFeed and other digital publishers is bubbling back up. Recode and CNN reported that BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti and Group Nine Media CEO Ben Lerer have discussed the possibility of combining forces. We can confirm that these two have talked, but we can also confirm that these two always talk about potential mergers, tie-ups, partnerships, according to sources familiar with the matter. Peretti and Lerer are longtime friends, and Lerer’s father, Ken Lerer, is an investor in both companies. (Alongside Ken Lerer, Peretti is also a co-founder of The Huffington Post.)

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