BuzzFeed has agreed to acquire HuffPost from Verizon Media, the digital media companies announced Thursday.
As part of the deal, Verizon Media and BuzzFeed will enter a multiyear partnership that focuses on content syndication and ads. Verizon Media, which has owned HuffPost since 2015, will also become a minority shareholder in BuzzFeed.
BuzzFeed and HuffPost will operate as “separate, distinct news organizations” with their own websites and editorial staff, Verizon Media said in a press release. Jonah Peretti, founder and CEO of BuzzFeed, will serve as the chief executive of the combined company.
Peretti helped found HuffPost in 2005 along with Arianna Huffington, Andrew Breitbart and Kenneth Lerer, who stepped down as chairman of BuzzFeed last year after roughly a decade at the company.
News of HuffPost’s acquisition was first reported by The Wall Street Journal. Most HuffPost staffers first learned of the decision through the Journal’s report.
“This definitely came as a massive surprise to all of us,” said HuffPost reporter Jenna Amatulli. “I can only hope that we get to keep what makes HuffPost a really special place to work alongside our new BuzzFeed colleagues.”
It wasn’t immediately clear whether there would be any layoffs as part of the merger. Peretti told multiple outlets that the deal would not result in job losses at BuzzFeed, but he could not say the same for HuffPost.
HuffPost signed its first collective bargaining agreement with the Writers Guild of America, East in 2016. A new collective bargaining agreement between the union and HuffPost was ratified earlier this year, which BuzzFeed will honor.
“We are glad we fought hard for successor language in our contract and have protections of a union contract in this process,” the union said in a statement.
In an email to BuzzFeed staff Thursday, BuzzFeed Editor-in-Chief Mark Schoofs said the search for a HuffPost editor-in-chief would begin immediately. The position has been vacant since Lydia Polgreen left the company in March. HuffPost’s new editor-in-chief will report to Schoofs.