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Photo: Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images

BuzzFeed said Thursday it plans to go public via a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC). The company is targeting a $1.5 billion valuation upon combining with 890 Fifth Avenue Partners, Inc., a blank-check company.

Driving the news: As part of the transaction, Buzzfeed said it plans to acquire Complex Networks, a lifestyle and entertainment media company, for $300 million in cash and stock.

  • Complex is currently owned via a joint venture of Hearst Communications and Verizon Communications. BuzzFeed will pay $200 million in cash for the property and $100 million of equity in BuzzFeed.

Why it matters: After 15 years, BuzzFeed — one of the largest venture-backed digital media companies — is finally delivering a return to its investors.

  • BuzzFeed had originally planned to go public in 2018, but plans were derailed following changes to the digital media ecosystem that impacted its business.
  • In the past, BuzzFeed has had conversations with other digital media giants, like Group Nine Media and Vox Media, about possible partnerships or combinations.

Details: The idea behind BuzzFeed's move is to create a publicly traded digital behemoth that houses many different digital brands. Earlier this year, BuzzFeed acquired HuffPost in an all-stock deal to jumpstart that process.

  • The parent company will be known as BuzzFeed Inc. BuzzFeed’s management team will remain in place.
  • Adam Rothstein, executive chairman of 890 Fifth Avenue Partners Inc., and Greg Coleman, an adviser to 890 Fifth Avenue Partners Inc. and former BuzzFeed president, will join BuzzFeed’s board of directors.
  • Two more board members will also be announced in the coming months.
  • Upon going public, BuzzFeed will trade on a public exchange under the ticker symbol “BZFD”

What they're saying: "BuzzFeed is now the undeniable leader for the next generation of media. We’ve built a slate of essential brands, loved by the most diverse, engaged, and loyal audience on the Internet,” BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti said in a statement.

What's next: The transaction is expected to close in Q4 2021. It has already been approved by the boards of directors of both BuzzFeed and 890 Fifth Avenue Partners.

Go deeper

Dotdash is IAC's fastest-growing business

Expand chart
Data: Company reports; Chart: Axios Visuals

Dotdash, the digital media company that houses brands like Verywell and Investopedia, is growing revenue faster than any other brand within the IAC, the publicly traded internet company that also owns Angi, The Daily Beast, and others.

Why it matters: IAC is known for growing digital brands and spinning them out once they are big enough to stand alone. Now that IAC has spun out Match Group and Vimeo, Dotdash is its fastest-growing brand in terms of revenue.

DOJ sues American Airlines, JetBlue to block "unprecedented" alliance

Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Justice Department on Tuesday sued American Airlines and JetBlue to block an "unprecedented series of agreements" that will consolidate the two airlines' operations in Boston and New York City.

Why it matters: The civil antitrust complaint alleges that the planned Northeast Alliance (NEA) "will cause hundreds of millions of dollars in harm to air passengers across the country through higher fares and reduced choice," the DOJ said in a release.

FBI: Body identified as Gabby Petito, death ruled a homicide

A memorial dedicated to Gabby Petito near City Hall in North Port, Fla. Photo: Octavio Jones/Getty Images

A body found in Teton County, Wyoming, on Sunday was confirmed to be the remains of missing 22-year-old blogger Gabby Petito, the FBI announced Tuesday.

Driving the news: The death was ruled a homicide by the Teton County coroner's office, the FBI said. The cause of death has not been determined.