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Former 2024 GOP presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy is in talks with BuzzFeed’s leadership over his proposed changes at the media company.

Ramaswamy, a BuzzFeed shareholder, recently spoke virtually with BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Perriti for over an hour and made plans to meet again in person later this summer or in the fall, according to a report from Axios on Monday.

Late last month, Ramaswamy wrote a seven-page letter to BuzzFeed’s board of directors urging the company to add three more directors he has vetted and to adapt its business model to survive as the company hemorrhages money. 

Since going public in December 2021, BuzzFeed’s market value has plummeted from around $1.5 billion to just under $100 million. While shares of BuzzFeed have rallied 163% this year, the recent boost coincided with reports of Ramaswamy’s buying of the shares. He is now the second-largest Class A shareholder with an 8.9% stake.

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In his letter, Ramaswamy said “BuzzFeed has lost its way,” called for a rebranding and reshuffling to take place, and said the company should focus on fostering “true intellectual diversity, both in its rank-and-file and in its leadership.” 

According to the Axios report, two of the three directors Ramaswamy would like to see added to the board – Chris Balfe, partner at Red Seat Ventures, and podcaster Patrick Bet-David were present during the virtual meeting with the BuzzFeed CEO.

Ramaswamy’s third director pick, OutKick founder Clay Travis, was not present for the meeting but was “briefed on it,” according to the outlet. Balfe, Bet-David and Travis are all conservative media veterans.

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OutKick is owned by FOX Corporation, which is also the parent company of FOX News Media and FOX Business.

Reacting to the report on X, Travis wrote, “Impressed with @VivekGRamaswamy’s ideas on BuzzFeed. We need more of a marketplace of ideas in media. Appreciate him putting forward @patrickbetdavid @cbalfe & me as board nominees. PBD and Chris are both super successful media guys and great dudes too.”

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
BZFD BUZZFEED 2.63 +0.50 +23.47%

When reached for comment, a BuzzFeed spokesperson told FOX Business in a statement, “As a shareholder with a vote of less than 3%, we appreciate Vivek Ramaswamy’s recommendations, and they will be sent to governance as per the formal process that he is no doubt aware of.”

A spokesperson for Ramaswamy confirmed to FOX Business that the Axios report is accurate, and that the meeting “was constructive, not contentious.”

The spokesperson said that a number of former employees of BuzzFeed and early investors in Buzzfeed have reached out to Ramaswamy offering encouragement about his efforts, and that they feel like the company needs to be changed. They added that Ramaswamy’s “number one goal is to create value, and he feels like there’s some good alignment.”

FOX Business’ Bradford Betz contributed to this report.

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