Jonah Peretti on BuzzFeed’s Potential IPO, Video Strategy & NBCUniversal Ties
Jonah Peretti launched BuzzFeed in 2006, after co-founding the Huffington Post a year earlier, as a proof-of-concept for how to create and track viral content. He’s now sitting atop a digital media empire that emerged from those viral, data-centric roots — and NBCUniversal, looking for the magic to rub off, has plowed $400 million into BuzzFeed. At this stage, the company may be on the cusp of going public, a rare (and potentially risky) move in the digital-media space. Variety sat down last week to talk with Peretti at BuzzFeed’s NYC headquarters about what’s next as part of a cover story on the company. An edited transcript:
Is BuzzFeed planning an IPO?
It’s one possible path for us. We certainly wouldn’t IPO until we feel we’re ready to IPO. The goal is to build a company for the long term, and build a strong, independent company. And one natural path would be to IPO. But we’re not under any pressure to IPO.
Somebody told me you don’t want to sell the company. Is selling BuzzFeed something you’ve ruled out?
I know that there’s a lot of focus on things like IPOs or potential transactions. The thing I try to stay focused on is the work itself. And independence is one value that has allowed us to things that other companies haven’t been able to do.