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NBCUniversal Sells $10.1 Million Worth of BuzzFeed Stock After Vivek Ramaswamy’s Ownership Disclosure Boosts Share Price; NBCU Sold $28.3 Million in Stock Last Year

Comcast-owned NBCUniversal disposed of more than half of the remaining shares it owns in BuzzFeed, a transaction that netted it $10.15 million. NBCU’s stock sale came a day after entrepreneur and right-wing politician Vivek Ramaswamy disclosed that he had acquired a 7.7% stake in BuzzFeed and intended to “engage in a dialogue” with BuzzFeed’s board about “opportunities to maximize shareholder value, including a shift in the company’s strategy.”

NBCU had invested $400 million in BuzzFeed in 2015 and ’16. Before NBCU’s May 22 sale of 3.18 million shares — 61% of its stake — the media conglomerate had held 15% of BuzzFeed’s outstanding shares. NBCU now owns 2 million shares in BuzzFeed, as disclosed in an SEC filing.

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In January and February of 2023, NBCU sold $28.3 million worth of BuzzFeed shares. That series of stock sales came after a jump in BuzzFeed’s share price on the company’s new AI strategy and reduced NBCU’s ownership stake from 26.5% to 15%.

After Ramaswamy’s acquisition of 2.7 million shares of BuzzFeed was disclosed, the company’s stock popped as much as 80% during Wednesday’s trading session before closing at $3.01/share, up 20% for the day. The May 22 sale price of NBCU’s shares was listed at $3.1936, which is a volume-weighted average price for multiple transactions that were executed at prices ranging from $3.00 to $3.90 per share, per the SEC filing.

Asked for comment about Ramaswamy’s stock purchases Wednesday, a BuzzFeed spokesperson said, “BuzzFeed is purposely structured to protect its editorial integrity. We are always open to hearing ideas from our shareholders.”

BuzzFeed’s stock has languished since it went public in December 2021. The company’s original SPAC deal valued it at $1.5 billion. As of Thursday, the company’s market capitalization is under $100 million.

The erstwhile digital-media highflier has seen revenue crumble in the last few years. To help pay down debt, BuzzFeed sold youth-media brand Complex earlier this year. It also laid off 16% of its remaining staffers, on the heels of several previous rounds of layoffs and the shutdown of its unprofitable BuzzFeed News division.

For Q1 2024, BuzzFeed reported revenue of $44.8 million, down 18%, while net loss from continuing operations improved slightly to -$26.6 million, compared with -$29.4 million in the first quarter of 2023. For Q2, BuzzFeed expects overall revenue to be $44 million to $49 million, or 21% to 30% lower than second quarter of 2023, with adjusted earnings projected to be in the range of -$4 million to $1 million (flat year-over-year at the midpoint).

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