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Vivek Ramswamy Acquires Big Stake in BuzzFeed, Will Pursue Activism

Vivek Ramswamy Acquires Big Stake in BuzzFeed, Will Pursue Activism

BuzzFeed has an activist investor, and it is a familiar name to close followers of Republican politics.

Vivek Ramaswamy, the entrepreneur who ran an unsuccessful campaign for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, has acquired a significant stake in the digital media company, with an SEC filing indicating that he intends to pursue an activist approach.

Ramaswamy dropped out of the GOP presidential race after the Iowa Caucus, and endorsed former President Donald Trump.

According to an SEC filing, Ramaswamy owns shares and call options worth just under $4 million, and equivalent to about 7.7% of BuzzFeed shares.

“The Reporting Person believes the securities of the Issuer are undervalued and represent an attractive investment opportunity,” the filing continues, adding that Ramaswamy “will seek to engage in a dialogue with the Issuer’s Board of Directors (the “Board”) and/or management about numerous operational and strategic opportunities to maximize shareholder value, including a shift in the Company’s strategy.”

It is not immediately clear what a shift in BuzzFeed’s strategy would mean. The digital media company, founded and led by CEO Jonah Peretti, has undergone a dramatic shift since going public two and a half years ago, effectively shutting down BuzzFeed News (it still has a newsroom through The Huffington Post), and moving to a model that focuses on creators and AI-driven games, quizzes, and other content.

Earlier this year BuzzFeed also sold Complex for $109 million to the shopping platform NTWRK, and laid off 16% of its workforce in significant cuts.

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Ramswamy previously founded the biotechnology firm Roivant Sciences, and in 2022 launched Strive Asset Management, an “anti-woke” investment firm.

An activist stake does not always lead to a hostile takeover attempt (as we saw with Elon Musk and Twitter), but it does usually result in the activist pushing for changes to the company, and occasionally cutting a deal, for board seats or other options.

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