Perhaps you’ve seen BuzzFeed in the news lately? In June, the cross-platform news and entertainment network announced plans to merge with 890 Fifth Avenue Partners, a publicly traded, special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC) in a new deal that will bring BuzzFeed public and upon close include the acquisition of Complex Networks. BuzzFeed’s implied valuation at deal-closing will be $1.5 billion. The trans-action is expected to close in Q4 2021; the parent company will be known as BuzzFeed Inc. and trade its shares of common stock on a public exchange under the ticker symbol “BZFD.”
Also in June, the brand’s investigative news organization, BuzzFeed News, won a Pulitzer Prize, the first for the website since its launch in 2012.While these moments grabbed headlines worldwide, BuzzFeed’s licensing program is the brand’s equivalent of “burying the lede.” When License Global last spoke to BuzzFeed in 2018, the licensing arm of the brand (led by Eric Karp, senior vice president, global licensing and brand design, BuzzFeed) was just getting started. Product Labs launched as an experiment aimed to create physical product and social commerce experiences that would resonate with its millions of followers. Product Labs became a significant revenue driver for the wider organization and was renamed BuzzFeed Commerce. The group soon created licensed merchandise, promotions, retail business development and content licensing for the organization’s various brands.
In 2017 BuzzFeed launched consumer products for its Tasty social food brand with a cookbook via Penguin Random House, which joined the New York Times Best-Seller list in less than two months. In 2018, a Tasty-branded cookware collection launched at Walmart that included more than 90 products ranging from nonstick cookware to high-quality bakeware, kitchen gadgets, accessories and more from licensee Epoca International.
The landmark deal was…