Mar 9, 2021 - Economy

BuzzFeed cuts 47 HuffPost employees weeks after completing merger

Photo: Esra Hacioglu/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

BuzzFeed said Thursday that it laid off 47 employees from HuffPost, the progressive news website that it acquired last month.

Why it matters: While BuzzFeed never promised it wouldn't lay people off after the deal, the scope and speed of the layoffs came as a shock to some employees, sources tell Axios.

Details: The company is also closing HuffPost Canada and moving away from local coverage in HuffPost Australia, according to a spokesperson. The company plans cut back operations in the U.K.

  • A spokesperson confirmed that HuffPost executive editor Hillary Frey and Louise Roug, executive editor for international, have decided to depart the company.

Catch up quick: BuzzFeed struck a deal to buy HuffPost from Verizon Media in an all-stock deal last year.

  • HuffPost was once one of the most-trafficked news websites on the internet, but an over-reliance on social media distribution and a lack of strategic vision stripped the site of its relevance in recent years.

The big picture: The layoffs and international changes are part of a long-term restructuring that the company hopes will help HuffPost break even this year, according to a BuzzFeed spokesperson.

  • In a meeting with employees Tuesday, BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti said HuffPost's losses last year exceeded $20 million "and would be similar this year without intervention."
  • "Though BuzzFeed is a profitable company, we don’t have the resources to support another two years of losses," he said.
  • A spokesperson says that At the end of this process, HuffPost’s newsroom will remain bigger than BuzzFeed News.

What's next: HuffPost's editor-in-chief Lydia Polgreen stepped down last year, months prior to the transaction, to become the head of content at Gimlet, a podcast company within Spotify.

  • A BuzzFeed spokesperson says the company is in the final interview stages of its search for a new editor-in-chief and expects to be able to make an announcement about the new hire in the coming weeks.

Go deeper: BuzzFeed to buy HuffPost in all-stock deal

Note: Former HuffPost co-founder and chairman Ken Lerer, who also served as the chairman to BuzzFeed, is an investor in Axios.

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