Does BuzzFeed Have What It Takes to Successfully Go Public?

CEO has yet to confirm IPO for 'unicorn' internet company.

June 20, 2017 12:43 pm
Does BuzzFeed Have What It Takes to Go Public?
(Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Those millennials recording those “Why I Left BuzzFeed” videos could be kicking themselves soon.

BuzzFeed, one the true “unicorns: in the digital space, with a current valuation of $1.7 billion—and backing from major players like NBC Universal—could go public soon. And that could mean everybody involved could see a lot more dollar signs to buzz about.

That is, if the company even goes the IPO route at all, reports Variety. (BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti neither confirmed nor denied a potential IPO in a recent interview with the media industry trade.)

For starters, another unicorn, Snap Inc., who saw its company’s value drop 20 percent after going the IPO route, could be a major warning sign for BuzzFeed, which bases the lion’s share of its business on millennial-skewing, ad-supported content. Video is one of its main revenue drivers, accounting for more than 50 percent of total revenue. The company also garners an astronomical nine billion content views per month.

The other side of that coin is those ex-employees recording those aforementioned videos. As Variety notes, BuzzFeed’s restrictive ways have led many of its video producers and “stars” to leave the company.

To sweeten the deal for its disgruntled content creators, according to sources who talked to Variety, Buzzfeed has partnered with some companies that allow “certain top-performing creators [to get] a 10 percent cut of revenue associated with their projects in return for exclusivity.” With all those billions of views, that could mean pay-dirt for some of the top producers.

Additionally, questions remain about whether or not the company can evolve from its current short-form content to a longer-form and -lasting model.

The InsideHook Newsletter.

News, advice and insights for the most interesting person in the room.