BuzzFeed agrees deal to go public via a SPAC merger with 890 Fifth Avenue Partners

·2 min read
Buzzfeed
BuzzFeed
  • BuzzFeed agreed to go public via a merger with SPAC 890 Fifth Avenue Partners, a SPAC focused on media and entertainment.

  • It plans to acquire youth-focused digital publisher Complex Networks under the deal.

  • The parent company will be named BuzzFeed, and will be listed under the ticker "BZFD."

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BuzzFeed agreed to become public through a merger with a special-purpose acquisition company, according to an announcement on Thursday.

As part of the deal with media-and-telecom focused SPAC 890 Fifth Avenue, named after the fictional Avengers mansion, BuzzFeed plans to acquire digital-publisher Complex Networks for $300 million.

The New York-headquartered company's acquisition of HuffPost last year sparked speculation that it could attempt to buy other digital media rivals by combining with a blank-check company.

Founder and CEO Jonah Peretti and CFO Felicia DellaFortuna will continue to hold their roles, along with other executive board members. Adam Rothstein, executive chairman of 890 Fifth Avenue Partners, and Greg Coleman, an advisor to the SPAC and former BuzzFeed president, will join the company's board, according to the announcement.

Peretti hopes the Complex acquisition will help the combined organization to scale up in the face of competition from Google and Facebook for digital advertising business, according to the WSJ.

SPACs typically aim to first secure a stock-market listing and then identify a private company to acquire and merge with, offering businesses an alternative to the traditional IPO process. There have been about twice as many listings through blank-check companies so far in 2021, compared with traditional offers. Around $108 billion has already been raised across 349 SPAC IPOs year-to-date, according to data from SPACInsider.com.

The emergence of SPACs is a positive force for digital media, because large-scale companies like BuzzFeed and Vox have mostly given up on selling to major cable or media companies, a media executive told Insider in December.

After the merger, expected to close in the fourth-quarter, the parent company will be called BuzzFeed and will be listed on the stock exchange under the ticker symbol "BZFD."

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