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Vivek Ramaswamy takes Buzzfeed stake to bring stategy ‘shift’

Former U.S. President and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump looks on as former Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy speaks at a rally by Trump, in advance of the New Hampshire primary election in Laconia, New Hampshire, U.S. January 22, 2024.

Mike Segar | Reuters

Former GOP presidential hopeful Vivek Ramaswamy has an 8% stake in BuzzFeed and is seeking to effect a “shift” in the media firm’s strategy, the investor said Tuesday in a filing.

“Stay tuned,” Ramaswamy told CNBC via a spokesperson. The wealthy conservative indicated in a regulatory filing that he would seek to dialogue with Buzzfeed’s management about every aspect of the company’s operations, up to and including an acquisition by a third party.

BuzzFeed did not return a request for comment. The media outlet went public via de-SPAC in an ill-received 2021 debut. Shares have fallen 94% since then, with CEO Jonah Peretti telling CNBC in a prior interview that his job was to “set us up with a better future.”

Shares surged roughly 50% on the news. The stock closed Tuesday at $2.50.

The once-viral company has been hit hard by changing news habits. It shuttered its Pulitzer Prize-winning news division in 2023, laying off 15% of its staff at the time. BuzzFeed was dependent on social-media and search traffic to drive visitors to its properties, and as those platforms have changed or deprioritized news it has also impacted BuzzFeed’s bottom line.

CNBC’s Alex Sherman and Brian Schwartz contributed to this report.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates. 

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