This would have been fairly alarming news for certain sections of the internet just getting over the fact that George Lucas had sold the rights to their beloved Star Wars to Disney. It turns out the entertainment mega-corporation also tried to buy Buzzfeed, but decided against it after the listicle-fueled site asked for US$1-billion.
According to Fortune, talks about the proposed deal were ongoing throughout the earlier parts of this year.
They are however believed to have broken down after Disney started pursuing multi-channel video network Maker Studios. That deal will apparently set Disney back US$500-million, along with possible earnouts that could bring the deal closer to US$1-billion.
As Fortune notes however, Buzzfeed’s potent combo of hard-hitting journalism, light-hearted listicles and quizzes might work for Disney as an advertiser but wouldn’t really fit under its established business model. While Buzzfeed relies on advertisers in various guises, Disney prefers to go the merchandising and licensing route.
It’s also believed that Buzzfeed wasn’t particularly interested in selling out either. On the face of it, that might sound odd given that the company’s last big funding round valued it at US$200-million, a fraction of what Disney would likely have been offering.
On the other hand, the Jonah Peretti-led online sensation is still undergoing massive growth, having hit profitability and now employing over 300 staff.
Bloomberg meanwhile reports that Buzzfeed is set to hit upwards of US$120-million in revenue this year.
Fortune quotes a Buzzfeed representative as being unwilling to comment on the story except to say that Buzzfeed “is focused on becoming a big, independent company.”