BuzzFeed to cut overall workforce by 15%

  • BuzzFeed plans to lay off 15 percent of its workforce, roughly 220 employees, a person familiar with the matter tells CNBC.
  • The cuts will be made across the company as the media company seeks to reduce costs without needing to raise funding, according to an internal memo from CEO Jonah Peretti.
Founder and CEO of BuzzFeed, Jonah Peretti
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Founder and CEO of BuzzFeed, Jonah Peretti

BuzzFeed plans to lay off 15 percent of its workforce, roughly 220 employees.

The cuts will be made across the company as the media company seeks to reduce costs without needing to raise funding, according to an internal memo from CEO Jonah Peretti. He said that while BuzzFeed has been diversifying its revenue and growing its business by double digits, "revenue growth by itself isn't enough to be successful in the long run."

"Even though I'm confident this is the right business decision, it is upsetting and disappointing," Peretti wrote in the memo.

Below is the internal memo on the layoffs:

Hello BuzzFeeders,

I'm writing with sad news: we are doing layoffs at BuzzFeed next week. We will be making a 15% overall reduction in headcount across the company. I'm sending this tonight because I wanted you to hear it from me directly instead of from the press.

Over the past few months, we've done extensive work examining the trends in our business and the evolving economics of the digital platforms. We've developed a good understanding of where we can consolidate our teams, focus in on the content that is working, and achieve the right cost structure to support our multi-revenue model. We are confident the changes we are making will put us on a firm foundation and allow us to invest and grow sustainably for years to come.

I'm so proud of what our team accomplished over the last year, including diversifying our revenue, and growing our business double digits. Unfortunately, revenue growth by itself isn't enough to be successful in the long run. The restructuring we are undertaking will reduce our costs and improve our operating model so we can thrive and control our own destiny, without ever needing to raise funding again. These changes will allow us to be the clear winner in the market as the economics of digital media continue to improve.

I'll share more about our future structure in a few days, but today I want to focus on what will be a difficult week, especially for the people who are leaving the company. These are talented people, friends, and valued colleagues, who've made huge contributions to our success, and who've done nothing wrong. Even though I'm confident this is the right business decision, it is upsetting and disappointing.

On a personal note, I've never thought about my job as "just business." I care about the people at BuzzFeed more than anything other than my family. This will be a tough week for all of us and I realize it will be much worse for the people losing their jobs. To them, I want to say thank you, I'm sorry our work together is ending this way, and I hope we get to work together again in the future. Our loss will be to the benefit of other organizations where I know you will go on to make formidable contributions.

We will be back to you with specifics on the process by Monday at the latest. Thank you all in advance for your compassion and kindness as we go through this process.

Disclosure: CNBC parent NBCUniversal is a minority investor in BuzzFeed.