Key BuzzFeed execs bail on company’s stock

June 10, 2022

By John Ransom

The recent unprecedented plunge of BuzzFeed stock is due in part to insider selling by BuzzFeed’s key executives, according to filings made with the Securities and Exchange Commission disclosing the transactions. 

The prominent sellers include BuzzFeed Chief Financial Officer Felicia DellaFortuna (67,426), Publisher Dao Nguyen (158,187 shares) and Chief Legal Officer Rhonda Powell (57,460 shares), according to the SEC Form 4 filings, which disclose changes in beneficial ownership of securities. 

Each share netted $3.76, a long way down from the public offering price of $10 for the company in December, but way above the price investors were getting on Monday when the executives sold their stock.   

The past year has exposed digital progressive media as more of a fit than a fashion. So it’s fitting that in one of the finales, its main proponents try to cash out at the expense of ordinary investors and employees. 

The dreams of BuzzFeed, Vox and Vice of transforming America into a bastion of socialism have faded one click at a time as the companies have pushed up against the hard reality of what the progressive agenda does to the American consumer. 

The economy is slowing, even as inflation continues to dominate consumer spending patterns, hitting e-commerce companies like BuzzFeed, hard, as they also see advertising revenues dwindle. 

The executive selling comes as BuzzFeed employees sue the company for damages being denied the ability to cash in on BuzzFeed stock that was awarded to employees as a form of compensation when the company botched its public offering in December. 

“As a result, claimants—some of whom are unable to trade their shares as of the date of this filing—lost the opportunity to sell their hard-earned shares for good value and have been left with stock trading at a mere fraction of its I.P.O. price,” one of the complaints reads according to Newsweek.

The IPO deal was supposed bring in $250 million in cash that the company needs to keep it going as it tries to create profits. But investors got cold feet and left BuzzFeed all alone at the altar when it went public. 

Employees are seeking $8.7 million in damages. 

To make matters worse, the one key executive who didn’t sell this month, CEO Jonah Peretti, may have been prevented from selling due to the poor expectations by BuzzFeed’s major investor. 

NBCUniversal reportedly imposed special conditions on BuzzFeed’s chief when they ultimately approved the plan for the company to go public last December. 

Business Insider reported previously that Peretti had to pledge some of his stock to guarantee the company’s price performance over the next two years. 

So far, that looks like a bad bet. 

“Shares of BuzzFeed went on a rollercoaster ride Tuesday amid the expiration of a ban preventing executives and major institutional investors from selling their shares,” reported the New York Post. 

Shares closed down more than 40 percent on Monday as investors flooded the market with one big transaction and a lot of little ones. 

While shares rallied on Tuesday, they closed at $2.29 just .07 off their all-time low of $2.22 set on Monday. 

According to data provided by NASDAQ, BuzzFeed traded as high as $14.77 in the last year. 

That seems like a distant memory as the company’s stock and executives indicate that bankruptcy might not be too far away, as Accuracy in Media has warned about previously. 


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