BuzzFeed Sells Pop Culture Startup Complex for $108.6 Million

BuzzFeed Sells Pop Culture Startup Complex for $108.6 Million

BuzzFeed said Wednesday that it was selling Complex, a new media company known for its coverage of streetwear and pop culture, at a significant discount to its purchase price.

The buyer is Ntwrk, an e-commerce company backed by LiveNation Entertainment and Main Street Advisors, which is paying $108.6 million for the company. It will also pay BuzzFeed $5.7 million to cover severance costs for Complex employees who BuzzFeed is laying off, along with other costs.

BuzzFeed said it was laying off 16 percent of its remaining workforce, a move it hopes will save the company $23 million a year. BuzzFeed does not sell First We Feast, the Internet brand associated with Complex behind the popular “Hot Ones” interview series about hot wings.

Jonah Peretti, co-founder and CEO of BuzzFeed, said in a statement that selling Complex was “an important strategic step” for the company.

“The changes we are announcing today will enable an exciting next stage for our company,” he said.

BuzzFeed, which has seen its valuation sharply discounted since going public in 2021, is selling Complex to pay down more than $60 million in debt. BuzzFeed said in a financial filing that it had $150 million in debt due in 2026 and an additional $33.8 million in a line of credit.

The sale of Complex, which generated more than $55 million in revenue last year, is a rare sight for Wall Street: It is selling for more than the market capitalization of its owner, BuzzFeed, which is about $31 million.

BuzzFeed acquired Complex in 2021 for around $294 million in cash and stock.

Aaron Levant, who will be Complex’s new CEO, said in a statement that the deal would create “the ultimate global content, commerce and experience platform for converged culture.”

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John C. Johnson

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