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Vivek Ramaswamy: 'I Believe BuzzFeed Can Still Become a More Valuable Company'

The entrepreneur told the online publisher that he is now its second-largest Class A shareholder

Vivek Ramaswamy: 'I Believe BuzzFeed Can Still Become a More Valuable Company'

Pharmaceutical entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy believes BuzzFeed has a future despite years of financial turbulence.

Ramaswamy quietly acquired just shy of 3 million shares of the publishing outlet this year and thereby became the fourth largest shareholder in BuzzFeed by May 22. The businessman has called on the company to shift its editorial perspective from left to right.

In a letter to the company’s board dated May 27, Ramaswamy said he now owns 8.37% of the company and is the second-largest Class A shareholder. He plans to continue to “increase” his position.

BuzzFeed has lost its way,” he wrote, per Variety. “The company was a pioneer of the social internet, when referral traffic from Facebook seemed like it would never end. Legacy media companies and publishers believed that BuzzFeed had the secret sauce, so much so that they invested at sky-high valuations, copied the strategy, or both.”

Ramaswamy said that the model that made BuzzFeed initially successful is no longer effective and that the company does not have “a viable strategy.”

“I own your stock because I believe BuzzFeed can still become a more valuable company than at its initial listing, but this requires a major shift in strategy,” he said.

Ramaswamy advised the company to hire contributors and personalities from “across the political and cultural spectrum” and gave Candace Owens, Tucker Carlson and Aaron Rodgers as examples.

“Distinguish yourself from competitors by openly admitting your past journalistic failures and redefine BuzzFeed’s brand around the pursuit of truth,” he told the online publisher.

He also urged the company not to reject his advice on “partisan grounds.”

“It may not be a bad thing for you to hear from someone who shares views in common with >150 million Americans you’re largely missing today,” Ramaswamy wrote.

Prior to his recent foray into politics, Ramaswamy co-founded Roivant Sciences which assists in the development of pharmaceutical drugs. He was also the founder and CEO of Strive Assessment Management, an investment firm focused on biotechnology that has over $700 million in assets under its management as of September 2023.

Ramaswamy ended his bid to be the Republican presidential nominee in January after the Iowa caucus. He said former President Donald Trump has his “full endorsement for the presidency.”

According to MSNBC:

Ramaswamy’s chief accomplishment during his campaign was becoming famous. Prior to his White House bid, Ramaswamy, a former biotech executive, was starting to make waves as a self-proclaimed expert on so-called “woke” ideology with a book and appearances on Fox News. But his presidential campaign elevated his profile dramatically. Using a say-yes-to-everybody media strategy, Ramaswamy swiftly became a high-profile MAGA warrior by sparring with reporters and pundits across the political spectrum and constantly going viral online with inflammatory soundbites.

BuzzFeed’s co-founder and current CEO Jonah Peretti pushed back on Ramaswamy’s criticism.

He said the pharmaceutical billionaire had “some fundamental misunderstandings about the drivers of our business, the values of our audience, and the mission of the company.”

“I’m very skeptical it makes business sense to turn BuzzFeed into a creator platform for inflammatory political pundits,” Peretti said in an email according to The Hill. “And we’re definitely not going to issue an apology for our Pulitzer Prize-winning journalism. … That said, I welcome outside perspectives from shareholders and am open to hearing more from you.”

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