Vivek Ramaswamy Acquires 7.7% Stake in BuzzFeed, Signals Activist Campaign Amid Controversy

Vivek Ramaswamy

Vivek Ramaswamy, an entrepreneur and pro-Trump politician, has acquired a 7.7% stake in BuzzFeed, signaling his intent to initiate an activist campaign to revitalize the struggling digital media company.

Ramaswamy bought 2,723,927 shares in BuzzFeed through a series of transactions from March 14 to May 21, as reported in an SEC filing dated May 21. This news caused BuzzFeed’s shares to soar more than 50% in premarket trading on Wednesday.

The filing states that Ramaswamy “believes the securities of [BuzzFeed] are undervalued and represent an attractive investment opportunity. The Reporting Person 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.”

BuzzFeed representatives have not yet responded to requests for comment.

Vivek Ramaswamy
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Ramaswamy, who made his fortune in finance and the pharmaceutical company he founded, Rovient Sciences, exited the 2024 GOP presidential race in January and endorsed Donald Trump, pledging his support even if Trump is convicted of felonies.

Ramaswamy, 38, has branded himself as “anti-woke” and has embraced several fringe conspiracy theories. He has described the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol as an “inside job” orchestrated by federal law enforcement and has supported the racist “replacement theory,” which claims that Democrats aim to allow immigrants of color into the U.S. to “replace” white voters.

Ramaswamy also supported the bizarre conspiracy theory involving Taylor Swift and her boyfriend, Kansas City Chiefs’ Travis Kelce, suggesting they were conspiring with President Biden and that the Super Bowl was rigged. In January, he posted on X, “I wonder who’s going to win the Super Bowl next month. And I wonder if there’s a major presidential endorsement coming from an artificially culturally propped-up couple this fall. Just some wild speculation over here, let’s see how it ages over the next 8 months.”

Facing financial difficulties, BuzzFeed sold Complex for $108.6 million earlier this year and laid off 16% of its remaining staff. In April 2023, BuzzFeed announced the closure of its unprofitable BuzzFeed News division, resulting in about 180 job cuts across the organization.

Recently, BuzzFeed revealed changes to its compensation structure for founder and CEO Jonah Peretti, who will now receive most of his pay in stock. Additionally, new incentives for other top executives were introduced to convince shareholders that senior leaders are better motivated to increase the share price.

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