The Future. BuzzFeed is in final talks to sell Complex Media to social shopping platform NTWRK at a fraction of the price it bought it for just a few years ago. The discount deal isn’t a knock on Complex (which is a rare profitable digital media brand) but instead shows the pressure BuzzFeed is under to raise cash and boost its stock fast. As digital media publishers fight for the ad revenue scraps left over from Google, Meta, and Amazon, expect more retail-focused players to scoop them up at reduced prices to bolster their marketing arms.
Complex Media is already getting a new home.
- BuzzFeed is selling the streetwear and culture brand to NTWRK in a deal valued at less than $140 million — almost three years after BuzzFeed bought it for $300 million.
- Complex’s food vertical, First We Feast (which produced the popular Hot Ones series), will not be part of the deal — BuzzFeed is planning to either keep it for itself or sell it independently.
BuzzFeed’s original purchase of Complex went down after the buzzy brand went public via a SPAC… but the market hasn’t been kind to the debt-ridden publisher, which is only worth about $40 million. In 2016, it had a valuation of $1.7 billion.
With its stock trading at less than $1, BuzzFeed has until November 27th to raise the share price, or the company will be delisted from the Nasdaq — undergoing the same fate as once-highflying publishers like VICE and Group Nine Media.
But for NTWRK, the acquisition is a major coup. The social shopping platform — backed by Live Nation and Main Street Advisors — now has one of the most influential streetwear media brands in the business to provide insights and market livestreams.