Media & Advertising

BuzzFeed is looking to raise $200M to buy Complex Networks: report

BuzzFeed is in talks to raise about $200 million in convertible bonds in order to make an offer to buy lifestyle publisher Complex Networks, according to a new report.

The $200 million raise would come as BuzzFeed is trying to go public via a special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, The Information said Thursday. The publication said BuzzFeed and the SPAC 890 Fifth Avenue Partners are “getting close to a resolution” after discussing the deal for several months. A deal may be reached in “the next few weeks,” the report added, citing anonymous sources.

In the meantime, BuzzFeed is interested in inking a deal with New York-based media company Complex, but negotiations are still ongoing and a deal is “far from certain,” according to the report. Complex, which was founded in 2002 as a bi-monthly magazine by fashion designer Marc Ecko, has an equity value of about $300 million, the report said. Since then, Complex has mushroomed into a digital media force, which boasts a growing video and live events business.

Complex's logo.
A deal may be reached in “the next few weeks,” the report added, citing anonymous sources.

Neither BuzzFeed nor Complex returned requests for comment.

Complex, which was acquired by Hearst and Verizon via a joint venture in 2016, would give BuzzFeed more millennial-focused muscle with its music-, sneaker- and pop culture-driven content, not to mention its annual marquee festival, ComplexCon.

The Information said in March that BuzzFeed’s potential deal with 890 Fifth Avenue Partners is priced “a little below” the company’s peak valuation of $1.7 billion. It is unclear what BuzzFeed’s valuation would be if it gobbled up Complex.

In January, 890 Fifth Avenue Partners raised $250 million when it started trading on Nasdaq. The blank check company is led by executive chairman Adam Rothstein, who is a co-founder and general partner of Disruptive Technology Partners, a tech and media-focused investment firm, and chief executive Emiliano Calemzuk, who is currently serving as lead independent director at MercadoLibre.

The SPAC has said it plans on targeting businesses in the tech and media space for between $750 million and $2 billion.


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