Digital entertainment giant BuzzFeed is set to acquire Complex Networks, a global youth entertainment company, for $300 million, the company said on Thursday. This follows BuzzFeed’s announcement that it is preparing to go public by merging with 890 Fifth Avenue Partners, a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC).
The Complex Networks purchase consists of $200 million in cash and $100 million of equity in BuzzFeed. The deal is expected to close in the Q4 of 2021 following the merger with 890 Fifth Avenue Partners.
Complex Networks will join BuzzFeed, BuzzFeed News, HuffPost and Tasty, while remaining editorially independent. Its founder-CEO Rich Antoniello will become “founder-at-large,” taking on a two-year advisory role to BuzzFeed co-founder-CEO Jonah Peretti, advising on new partnerships, acquisitions and major strategic initiatives.
In addition, Christian Baesler, now president of Complex Networks, will assume the role of CEO. Justin Killion, current GM and executive vice president for operations and content at Complex Networks, will serve as president.
890 Fifth Avenue Partners has $288 million in cash in trust.
BuzzFeed has also secured around $150 million in convertible note financing led by Redwood Capital Management and including CrossingBridge Advisors, Cohanzick Management, and Silver Rock Financial LP.
Complex was co-founded in 2002 by Antoniello and Marc Ecko in 2002 as a media brand. It brands include Complex (pop culture), First We Feast (food entertainment), Pigeons and Planes (music discovery), Sole Collector (sneaker news), and ComplexCon, its festival of what it calls cultural convergence.
One attraction for BuzzFeed was the demographic.
“The fact that the Complex audience skews more male and more diverse than BuzzFeed will make our company stronger,” Peretti states.
For its part, Complex Networks feels "BuzzFeed's unique approach to data, creativity and commerce opens up many new opportunities for Complex Networks' continued growth,” Baesler states.=