Don’t expect BuzzFeed to go public any time soon: Hopes for a 2018 IPO of the new media company fizzled Thursday after the Wall Street Journal reported that BuzzFeed may miss its 2017 revenue target by as much as 20%.
BuzzFeed was shooting to bring in $350 million revenue this year. Unnamed sources told the Journal that the actual results could be 15% or even 20% below that target.
BuzzFeed didn’t dispute the report in a statement sent to Variety, but instead said it was growing key metrics this year:
“BuzzFeed grew revenue, content views, unique visitors, and time spent in 2017; we’ve expanded our ad offering with new products and programmatic, and rapidly diversified revenue through commerce, licensing, and development for TV and film. With a strong, growing portfolio of brands in BuzzFeed, BuzzFeed News, Tasty, Nifty and more, we have greater audience reach and a more diversified business than ever, and are very well-positioned heading into 2018.”
BuzzFeed’s $350 million target for this year is thought to have been 35% above its 2016 revenue. The companyt has seen some rapid expansion, and has been doubling down on video with franchises like Tasty and Nifty. BuzzFeed also launched an e-commerce unit called the BuzzFeed Product Lab in late 2016, and began selling a smart appliance dubbed the Tasty One Top this summer.
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The flip side: All of these efforts have led to increased spending, which has worried board members, according to the Journal.
BuzzFeed’s financial health, as well as the possibility of an IPO, have long been a cause for speculation among media watchers. Back in 2015, reports suggested that BuzzFeed slashed its revenue goal for that year from $500 million to $250 million — numbers that the company disputed.
CEO Jonah Peretti stopped short of outlining IPO plans in an interview with Variety earlier this year, and instead said that going public was “one possible path” for the company.
BuzzFeed’s reported revenue miss wasn’t the only bad news for new media to break on Thursday. Mashable, once valued at $250 million, reportedly sold to Ziff Davis for a mere $50 million.