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Turning Red and Hot: Vivek Ramaswamy Wants to Shake Things Up at BuzzFeed by Tilting Right

Turning Red and Hot: Vivek Ramaswamy Wants to Shake Things Up at BuzzFeed by Tilting Right

  • The former Republican presidential candidate wants the media company to cut jobs, and hire more conservative voices like Tucker Carlson.

Former Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy wants BuzzFeed to cut jobs, add three board seats, and hire more conservative voices. In a letter sent to the company’s board this week, he criticized its business practices and journalistic efforts, and encouraged the board “to transform the outlet into a creator-driven platform,” according to the seven-page letter posted on Fox Business website. 

He recommended that the media company “cut its staff significantly or risk being forced into bankruptcy by its long-term debt obligations.” He advised against “cutting around the edges,” noting that BuzzFeed requires “a complete, ground-up re-think of every single piece of content being produced at the company.”

The Indian American entrepreneur suggested that BuzzFeed should hire media personalities like Candace Owens, Tucker Carlson, Bill Maher, Aaron Rodgers and Charles Barkley, as “no talent should be off-limits to platform, hire, or acqui-hire.” He requested that the board add three unnamed directors to its ranks to increase “diversity of thought.” He also implored BuzzFeed to issue a public apology to its readers and inform them that it had “repeatedly lied on issues of national importance,” including about Donald Trump, Covid-19, and various other issues. 

Noting that he is the “second-largest Class A shareholder with an 8.37% stake” in BuzzFeed, Ramaswamy said he continues to increase his position. “I own your stock because I believe BuzzFeed can still become a more valuable company than at its initial listing, but this requires a major shift in strategy,” he wrote in the letter. 

While he didn’t name the three directors he’s proposing, he said he wanted them to meet with the board in the next few weeks, and asked the company to act on the nominations by July 15.

The biotech entrepreneur said in the letter that the New York-based media company needs to refocus its business around online videos such as its Hot Ones celebrity interview show on YouTube. The Information. “You have a historic opportunity to redefine BuzzFeed and set yourself apart from every other major media organization,” he said, according to Bloomberg News. 

Earlier this month, shares of the media company gained about 20 percent on May 22, after he acquired a 7.7% stake in the struggling media company. He acquired 2.7 million shares in the company between March 14 and May 21 of this year, at prices ranging from $1.54 to $2.5, a securities filing revealed.

Ramaswamy suspended his presidential campaign in January and endorsed Trump. The 38-year-old entrepreneur announced in Des Moines on Jan. 15 after a disappointing fourth-place finish in the Iowa caucuses. He entered the 2024 race with no prior political experience. Founder of the biotech firm Roivant Sciences and author of the book “Woke Inc., he funded most of his campaign from his fortunes. 

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The Information noted that Ramaswamy letter should be seen as his “way of reminding Trumpers that he is on their side ahead of the Republican convention where the vice-presidential candidate will be picked.” The publication also points out that Ramaswamy is “so conscious of the convention that he selected July 15, the opening day of the event, as the date by which the board should act on his suggestion to add three members he suggested.” His investment in BuzzFeed “already looks to be a very smart move, as a way of getting attention,” The Information added. 

However, reports in media like Bloomberg, The New York Times, and others speculate that Ramaswamy might not make any headway with the letter, as BuzzFeed’s co-founder and Chief Executive Officer, Jonah Peretti, owns a majority of the Class B super-voting share. 

In replying to Ramaswamy’s letter, Peretti told him that he has “some fundamental misunderstandings about the drivers of our business, the values of our audience, and the mission of the company.” He said he’s “skeptical it makes business sense to turn BuzzFeed into a creator platform for inflammatory political pundits.” He denied issuing “an apology for BuzzFeed’s Pulitzer Prize-winning journalism.” But he welcomes outside perspectives from shareholders and am open to hearing more from you,” he concluded. 

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