BuzzFeed Editor-In-Chief, 2 Editors Stepping Down As Firm Releases 2021 Earnings

BuzzFeed, Inc. (Nasdaq: BZFD) reported today its 2021 financial results–its first since going public in December 2021–highlighting an annual revenue of US$397.6 million, around a 24% increase year-on-year. On the same day, the media outfit’s editor-in-chief and two other segment editors announced they are leaving the firm.

BuzzFeed Editor-in-Chief Mark Schoofs, Deputy News Editor Tom Namako, and Executive Editor of Investigations Ariel Kaminer all announced their resignations today on the heels of the firm’s earnings release.

“After almost two rollicking and deeply fulfilling years as editor-in-chief, I’ve decided that it’s the right time to move on,” said Schoofs in an email to his staff.

The step downs are happening amidst the planned job cuts that “would represent 1.7% of the total staff,” according to BuzzFeed Founder and CEO Jonah Peretti in the earnings call.

The company saw its annual net income increase by 132% to US$25.9 million, while adjusted EBITDA grew by 35% to US$41.5 million.

But for Q4 2021, while revenue increased by 18% to US$145.7 million and net income increased by 29% to US$41.6 million over last year’s numbers, adjusted EBITDA declined by 12% to US$34.2 million.

Time spent by users on the site also declined during Q4 by 4% compared to the year-ago period.

In Q1 2022, the firm is expecting a lower quarterly revenue, taking into consideration the newly acquired Complex Networks. It also expects to log adjusted EBITDA in the red at a range between US$15 to US$20 million in losses.

In the earnings call, Peretti made multiple references to the trend of audience shifting away from Facebook which affects their commerce revenues.

“Starting with time spent given audience just to TikTok and Instagram and the exclusion of those platforms from out time spent metric, at this point in the quarter, we continue to see audiences spending less time on Facebook,” Peretti said.

This is the company’s first quarterly earnings release since going public in December 2021 via a SPAC deal with 890 5th Avenue Partners. The lackluster IPO saw 94% redemptions from shareholders, which left the merger with around US$16 million in gross proceeds.

Last week, 77 former and current employees filed two claims with the American Arbitration Association, saying that the firm did not instruct the employees properly on how to trade their shares during the IPO. The employees are seeking around US$8.7 million in compensation.

On the job cuts, however, Schoofs said he hopes to lean towards voluntary buyouts instead of lay-offs: “We hope to reduce our size through voluntary buy-outs, not layoffs, and we have reached out to the union to negotiate buyouts. Also: This is not your fault. You have done everything we asked, producing incandescent journalism that changed the world.”

BuzzFeed last traded at US$5.15 on the Nasdaq.

Information for this briefing was found via The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The Wrap, and the companies mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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