Media company BuzzFeed is trying to do the impossible by creating a new public media company today. According to reports from The Wall Street Journal and Axios, the company is working on an initial public offering for 2018.
BuzzFeed has already raised hundreds of millions from VC firms and NBCUniversal. And if you’ve raised a ton of money in order to grow rapidly, you don’t have many options. Either you go public, or you get acquired at some point. And it looks like the company would rather go public.
BuzzFeed gained initial traction by publishing viral stories. Initially, the site was more famous for its GIF listicles and quizzes than anything else.
The company used this audience to invest in other ventures, starting with a big team of journalists working on the BuzzFeed News vertical. BuzzFeed also invested heavily into videos and a cooking vertical with Tasty.
While NBCUniversal is by far the biggest investor in BuzzFeed, the IPO reports prove that an acquisition isn’t planned. NBCUniversal is also an investor in Vox (The Verge, Recode, Racked, Polygon, etc.). Now, let’s see if BuzzFeed can turn its viral success into a long-term public media company.