Employment Law

BuzzFeed laying off 16% of staff, selling Complex for $108M

A photo of staff attending a meeting and taking notes. (Photo: Dylan Gillis / Unsplash)

BuzzFeed is eliminating approximately 16 per cent of its total workforce and selling Complex.

The bombshell announcement comes almost a year after the digital media company laid off dozens of employees and shuttered its news division.

What’s going on at BuzzFeed?

CEO Jonah Peretti told staff in a recent email that the job cuts are “designed to reduce centralized costs and to allow [BuzzFeed] to become more agile, sustainable, and profitable.”

“Digital publishers are facing multiple headwinds in the current market, and our recent revenue performance reflects the fact that a bundled portfolio approach is not aligned with current advertiser or platform trends,” Peretti said in the email, which was obtained by The Hollywood Reporter.

“More importantly, our performance does not reflect the value or future growth potential of our individual brands. The changes we are making to reduce the size of our business and administrative teams will position each brand to operate more autonomously.”

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Affected employees are expected to be notified on Feb. 28. The company has more than 30 workers in Canada, according to LinkedIn.

NTWRK to acquire Complex

In addition to the layoffs, BuzzFeed has agreed to sell Complex to livestream shopping platform NTWRK for approximately US$108.6 million.

However, some of Complex’s popular franchises, including First We Feast, won’t trade hands as part of the all-cash deal.

According to The Wall Street Journal, BuzzFeed is also considering the sale of Tasty, its social media food brand.

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Termination agreements for BuzzFeed employees

In Canada, non-unionized employees at BuzzFeed are owed full severance pay when they lose their jobs due to downsizing, corporate restructuring, or the closure of the business.

This includes individuals working full-time, part-time, or hourly in Ontario, Alberta, and B.C.

People working “on contract” or as a contractor may also be owed severance pay — given that many employees in Canada are often misclassified as independent contractors.

Severance can be as much as 24 months’ pay, depending on a number of factors.

WATCH: Employment lawyer Lior Samfiru explains what rights employees have if they are being fired or let go on an episode of the Employment Law Show.

Before accepting a severance offer, double-check the amount using our firm’s free Severance Pay Calculator. It has helped millions of Canadians determine their entitlements.

In addition to your salary, make sure to factor in any other elements of your compensation (i.e. bonuses, commission, etc.).

If your employer’s offer falls short of what our Severance Pay Calculator says you are owed, it’s very likely that you have been wrongfully dismissed and should contact an experienced employment lawyer at Samfiru Tumarkin LLP.

Non-unionized employees in Canada have up to two years from the date of their dismissal to pursue proper severance pay.

Rights to severance for provincially regulated employees
• Severance packages during mass layoffs
Severance entitlements in a recession

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Major layoffs continue

The job cuts at BuzzFeed come amid a flurry of layoffs in 2024.

Big names, including Nike, Cisco, Catalent, Cascades, Mozilla, Instacart, BlackBerry, Enbridge, PayPal, UPS, Microsoft, Rona, eBay, and Wayfair, have also pulled out the axe as they continue to navigate challenging economic conditions.

• Firm launches $130M class action against Shopify for breach of contract
Walmart Canada layoffs amid corporate restructuring, shift to Spark: Reports
Where are layoffs happening in Canada?

Lost your job? Talk to an employment lawyer

If you have been fired or let go for any reason, contact the experienced employment law team at Samfiru Tumarkin LLP.

Our lawyers in Ontario, Alberta, and B.C. have successfully represented tens of thousands of non-unionized individuals.

In addition to severance package negotiations, we can assist you on a broad range of employment matters, including:

If you are a non-unionized employee who needs help with a workplace issue, contact us or call 1-855-821-5900 to get the advice you need and the compensation you deserve.

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