BuzzFeed Sells Complex to Ntwrk for $108.6 Million, Will Lay Off 16% of Remaining Workforce |

BuzzFeed Sells Complex to Ntwrk for $108.6 Million, Will Lay Off 16% of Remaining Workforce

BuzzFeed on Wednesday sold Complex to NTWRK, an e-commerce company specializing in collectible items rooted in street culture.

via: Variety

BuzzFeed announced Wednesday that it closed the sale of Complex to ecommerce platform Ntwrk in a $108.6 million all-cash deal. L.A.-based Ntwrk said that together with Complex, it will build a “next-generation content and shopping experience” that it described as a “new destination for ‘superfan’ culture that will define the future of commerce, digital media and music.” Investors in the newly merged company include Universal Music Group, Jimmy Iovine, Main Street Advisors and Goldman Sachs.

In addition to the $108.6 million purchase price, BuzzFeed received approximately $5.7 million related to Complex’s use of the company’s New York offices and “severance- and other employment-related costs.”

BuzzFeed acquired Complex Networks in December 2021 for approximately $198 million in cash and $96 million in equity — for a total price tag of $294 million. However, that included Complex’s First We Feast brand, producer of the popular “Hot Ones” series, which was not sold to Ntwrk and remains with BuzzFeed.

Along with the Complex sale, BuzzFeed announced a new round of layoffs to cut expenses, implementing a 16% reduction in its remaining workforce of a bit under 1,000 across the company (excluding Complex employees who are joining Ntwrk). The BuzzFeed job cuts are expected to yield approximately $23 million in annualized compensation cost savings, the company said. The layoffs come after BuzzFeed in April 2023 announced it was shuttering its unprofitable BuzzFeed News division and laying off about 180 people across the organization.

Going forward, BuzzFeed will focus on “optimizing sustainable revenue streams with the highest margins,” centered on four brand pillars — BuzzFeed, First We Feast, HuffPost and Tasty. “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,” BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti said in a statement. “This is also an opportunity to unlock greater value for the Complex brand by combining it with Ntwrk’s expansive, commerce-driven business.”

According to Ntwrk, the new company will combine “an e-commerce platform anchored in sneakers, streetwear and collectibles with content and music.” UMG’s Interscope Geffen A&M and Capitol Music Group will be the music company’s first labels to collaborate with the new Ntwrk-Complex company to “deliver industry-leading and culture-moving experiences and exclusive collaborations, direct to passionate music fans in groundbreaking and authentic ways.” The new platform will be accessible to artists from all major and independent labels as well, Ntwrk said.

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