Big Business /

Vivek Ramaswamy is Now Buzzfeed’s Fourth Largest Investor

The pharmaceutical entrepreneur told media outlets to 'stay tuned' when asked about his recent stock purchases

Vivek Ramaswamy is Now Buzzfeed’s Fourth Largest Investor

Pharmaceutical entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy has quietly acquired almost 3 million shares of Buzzfeed.

The former Republican presidential candidate currently has a 7.7% stake in the media company. According to a regulatory filing, Ramaswamy purchased over 2,723,972 shares of the publisher between March 14 and May 21. Buzzfeed has struggled to stay afloat in recent years.

Ramaswamy is now the fourth-largest investor in the company, which was founded in 2006. He told Forbes to “stay tuned” when asked about the acquisition. 

Comcast Corp., NEA Management Co., and Hearst Communications Inc. are the outlet's largest investors. 

Ramaswamy’s involvement raises questions about BuzzFeed’s direction,” reports CNBC. “His Strive Asset Management has pushed companies to stay out of ‘woke’ politics and opposed the widespread adoption of environmental, social and governance, or ESG, principles.”

Buzzfeed announced in February that it had sold its youth entertainment brand Complex Networks for $108.6 million – three years after buying the brand for $300 million. The company also laid off 16% of its staff as part of a “planned strategic restructuring,” per CNN. At the time, Buzzfeed’s shares were priced at $0.21 — 98% down from the publisher’s IPO in 2021.

Buzzfeed closed Buzzfeed News in late April of 2023. The 180-person staff was terminated.

I made the decision to overinvest in BuzzFeed News because I love their work and mission so much,” said founder Jonah Peretti in a message to staff, as reported by The Guardian. “This made me slow to accept that the big platforms wouldn’t provide the distribution or financial support required to support premium, free journalism purpose-built for social media.”

A year later, Peretti told CNBC that he wanted investors to know he was willing to embrace a profitable business model.

“I’m trying to set us up with a better future and align with major trends,” he said. “If I do that well, my leadership will be a success. If not, it won’t be.”

His plan focuses on incorporating artificial intelligence into content creation in order to save money on labor.

“Formats that were developed before the AI-revolution, and many of the formats and conventions of the media industry will need to be updated and adapted, or begin to feel stale and outdated,” Peretti wrote in a blog post. “This is why we’ve been investing in AI-powered content and launching new formats like Infinity Quizzes and Chatbot games.”

Ramaswamy has previously cautioned the public about the “real danger of AI” while campaigning in Iowa in October.

"I think AI can have a lot of good uses in this country. But there are also real risks," he said, per Newsweek. "The real risk is when it comes to interfacing with people."

He noted that he did use AI while running his drug development company but warned companies had to take responsibility for the consequences of the technology.

“Just like you can't dump your chemicals, if you're a chemical company, in somebody else's river, well if you're developing an AI algorithm today that has a negative impact on other people, you bear the liability for it,” Ramaswamy said.

*For corrections please email [email protected]*