BuzzFeed CEO expects to spin off online news site by end of 2018 – CNN Money

CNN Money staff:

A plan to spin off BuzzFeed into a public company is advancing as the online news site deals with employee protests by workers urging management to back off from its corporate overhaul.

Monday’s NY Post reported that the company is aiming to file documents with the Securities and Exchange Commission soon to begin trading in the new year. An email obtained by CNNMoney shows that BuzzFeed laid out its plans to the staff this weekend. It said it plans to hold the shares on the NYSE, and that the rest of its employees would be invited to vote to own a portion of the company. The NY Post also reported that BuzzFeed has been lining up bankers for its flotation. The company declined to comment.

A BuzzFeed employee source said the company is preparing the paperwork now, the next step in its path to a spin-off.

The source said the list of stocks were created in order to make employees feel more invested in the stock. BuzzFeed said in the message that it is still pursuing a listing on the New York Stock Exchange, but at the last meeting with the staff, executives outlined plans to separate the company into two entities.

It is not clear whether that means BuzzFeed’s journalism and other parts of the business would be rolled into a new entity. The company also made no mention of executive changes or management changes.

Employees have been mobilizing since late November.

The company plans to lay off 15% of its staff, or about 350 people, according to people familiar with the plans. It has laid off around 20% of its staff during the last five years, according to a BuzzFeed spokesperson. The company expects to reach a payroll of $370 million this year, the spokesperson said.

The employee action stems from a staff vote on severance plans. The results of that vote are not known at this time.

Some of the workers who held protests this weekend said they were talking to their representatives to encourage them to vote against the plan to release the company to the public.

Some workers who have seen layoffs in the past said that the job market is unusually tight right now, so even those eligible for severance don’t want to leave their jobs.

Some employees have told management that they are relocating in order to get work.

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