NEW YORK (Diya TV) — Biotech entrepreneur and former GOP presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy has taken a significant stake in BuzzFeed, aiming to revitalize the struggling media company. According to a recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Ramaswamy acquired a 7.7% stake, equating to 2.7 million shares. This move comes as BuzzFeed navigates financial difficulties and seeks a new strategic direction.

Ramaswamy used his personal funds to make this investment, and his filing indicates plans to explore “numerous operational and strategic opportunities to maximize shareholder value.” When asked about his new role, Ramaswamy simply said, “Stay tuned!”

Since its inception in 2006, BuzzFeed has been known for its news, quizzes, and games. However, it has struggled to remain profitable in the evolving media landscape. In February, the company underwent a “planned strategic restructuring,” cutting 16% of its workforce to reduce expenses and improve agility. Additionally, BuzzFeed sold Complex Networks, a pop culture media startup, at a discounted price and shut down its news division, laying off 15% of its staff.

Ramaswamy, who suspended his GOP presidential bid in January and endorsed former President Trump, has a history of criticizing the media. He has often labeled reports on Trump and Russia as “fake news” and suggested that the January 6 Capitol riot was an “inside job.” Despite these controversial views, his investment in BuzzFeed suggests he sees potential in steering the company towards profitability.

The SEC filing reveals Ramaswamy’s intent to engage with BuzzFeed’s board of directors as an activist investor. He aims to shift the company’s strategy, focusing on areas that can enhance shareholder value. This move comes at a crucial time for BuzzFeed, which has faced dramatic changes since CEO Jonah Peretti shut down its news division in April 2023. Peretti has emphasized integrating artificial intelligence into BuzzFeed’s core business, aiming to build a defining media company for the AI era.

BuzzFeed’s recent direction has shifted towards tech-led revenue streams, including branded quizzes, Instagram takeovers, sponsored content, and content licensing. This pivot marks a departure from the news and listicles that initially made the brand famous.

Earlier this year, BuzzFeed sold Complex to NTWRK, a livestream shopping platform, for $108.6 million plus additional costs for office and severance. The company also laid off 16% of its remaining staff as part of ongoing restructuring efforts.

Ramaswamy’s announcement has already had a significant impact. BuzzFeed’s stock surged by about 20% following the news, with a high of more than 82% earlier in the day. The billionaire believes BuzzFeed’s securities are undervalued and present an attractive investment opportunity. He plans to push for a strategic shift that could revitalize the company’s fortunes.

Despite these developments, BuzzFeed has seen its stock plummet roughly 92% since its initial public offering in 2021. The company has struggled alongside other digital publishers, hit hard by a softening advertising market, declining social media referral traffic, and the rise of artificial intelligence.

BuzzFeed’s portfolio includes notable brands such as HuffPost, Tasty, and the “Hot Ones” YouTube series under First We Feast. Last year, the company shuttered its Pulitzer Prize-winning digital news site, laying off 15% of its staff in a broader move to cut costs and stabilize its financial position.