Huffington Post is on the chopping block as Verizon seeks to sell the controversial media company. According to a report in the New York Post, Verizon is shopping around, hoping to find another media conglomerate that is interested in the property. Thus far, there are no takers.
Verizon acquired Huffington Post as part of its acquisition of AOL in 2015. The $4.4 billion purchase included AOL’s internet service and its online video services, which was the acquisition target. As a side bonus, the telecom giant also obtained news sites such as TechCrunch, Engadget, and The Huffington Post.
Though TechCrunch and Engadget have remained strong, Huffington Post has faltered. The site reportedly loses millions of dollars each year, sources told the New York Post.
For the new buyer to turn a profit, it will have to slash the editorial team and other paid staff in half. This task is made even more difficult because the staff is backed by the Writer’s Guild of America East union. Verizon reportedly is looking for a buyer to do the “dirty work” of firing people and dealing with severance packages, said a source who spoke anonymously to the New York Post.
Started by Arianna Huffington in 2005, Huffington Post took a left-leaning approach to the news as a counter to the then-popular Grudge Report. The media site has struggled to find its place with “in-fighting” over how “left” the publication should be” a source said to the Post.
Workers also cite a “toxic culture” and “distrust in the organization.”
Over the past several months, Verizon reportedly talked to media giants like Vox, Rolling Stone publisher Penske Media Corp and others. All of the companies that were approached by Verizon have politely refused the offer to clean out Huffington Post. Even Group Nine Media, whose CEO Ben Lerer is the son of Huffington Post co-founder Ken Lerer, was not interested in Verizon’s deal.