BuzzFeed Stock Drops Nearly 24 Percent

BuzzFeed’s first week on the stock market went from bad to worse Thursday, when its stock lost nearly a quarter of its value.

Its shares dropped 23.6 percent, to close at $5.87, and at that price they are now down 31 percent from where they closed Monday, when it made its debut as a public company.

BuzzFeed, which is known for both its catchy lists and its traditional journalism, went public by merging with a shell corporation known as a special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, a route onto the stock market that was popular earlier this year but has since lost favor among investors.

BuzzFeed raised far less money from the merger than it had expected to after many investors in the SPAC asked for their money back. BuzzFeed’s leadership had hoped that going public would make it easier for it to acquire other digital media companies. But doing so will be much harder after its fund-raising came up short and if its stock remains depressed.

At it current share price, BuzzFeed, which bought HuffPost last year, has a market value of $775 million.

BuzzFeed’s difficult first week will send a chill through the boardrooms of other digital media companies that have been hoping to go public or raise new money.

The speed and depth of the decline in BuzzFeed’s stock may in part be because there is a small number of shares available to trade. It may not take much selling to push the share price down; conversely, a small amount of buying would send it higher.

BuzzFeed appears to have sufficient cash on hand to finance its business. It recently raised $150 million from selling debt securities. In the nine months through the end of September, it lost $16 million, a small improvement from a loss of $21 million in the same period of 2020.

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