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5 Reasons BuzzFeed Stock Is Hitting New Lows on Tuesday | The Motley Fool

There hasn’t been a lot of buzz to the BuzzFeed (BZFD -10.57%) story since it hit the market five months ago. It posted its second quarterly report as a public company on Monday afternoon, and it was not well-received.

BuzzFeed stock sank to a new low on Tuesday at less than a third of the value where it debuted. Let’s take a look at how its first quarter played out, and run through five reasons why Wall Street isn’t happy with what the digital content publisher is serving right now. 

Image source: Getty Images.

1. A miss is never a good look

Revenue rose by 26% year over year, clocking in at $91.6 million, but  analysts had been holding out for $94.5 million on the top line. The bottom line situation was even worse. BuzzFeed’s net loss almost quadrupled to $44.6 million. Investors had been braced for a widening deficit, and it’s not a surprise to see a company’s overhead move higher when it’s new to the public markets. The problem here is that the $44.6 million in red ink translates into a loss of $0.33 a share. Analysts had been modeling for a loss of just $0.21 a share. 

2. The market has grown skeptical when it comes to SPACs

There’s no shortage of companies that went public via mergers with special-purpose acquisition companies —  SPACs, for short. Those companies took shortcuts en route to the market, and now most of them are paying the price. Most SPACs are now trading in the single digits, and BuzzFeed is no exception.

There’s no shame in trading at $3 and change — which is where BuzzFeed is now — but it does make it a little harder to do business. BuzzFeed has carved out a living by tempting us with clickbait listicles and interactive personality quizzes, but management will find it tough to raise capital or acquire rival media companies using its stock as currency.

The stock was a dud even before it came out of the gate. BuzzFeed wasn’t able to raise as much money as it wanted in its December debut, as a whopping 94% of the $287.5 million the SPAC raised was withdrawn by the initial investors. That was obviously a smart call given where the stock is now.

3. Commerce revenue is disappointing

BuzzFeed’s ad revenue is growing. Its content revenue is growing even faster. It’s the third category — commerce — that is going the wrong way, down 27% over the last year. This looked like an obvious way for BuzzFeed to grow its revenue. Adding links to its editorial shopping content so that it could generate affiliate commissions when viewers buy those products makes sense. Isn’t BuzzFeed the ultimate online influencer?

Apparently, it’s not working out that way. Nor are things going particularly well with the experiential and product licensing businesses that are also recorded in the commerce segment. 

4. BuzzFeed’s popularity is fading

One problematic nugget from the prospectus BuzzFeed circulated late last year was that the amount of time that folks spent consuming its content rose just 10% through the first nine months of 2021. Lately, things have been getting worse. Time spent on BuzzFeed through its operated properties as well as third-party platforms declined by 4% through the first three months of this year compared to 2021. 

5. Guidance is rough

BuzzFeed isn’t the only online company getting advertisers to pay more to reach a smaller or less-engaged audience. The rub here is that management foresees growth decelerating. The outlook for the current quarter calls for revenue to grow by a percentage in the low 20s. Analysts were modeling for revenue to grow from $89.1 million in Q2 2021 to $120.4 million in Q2 2022 — a 35% year-over-year gain. 

You can’t be an ascending media stock if you bury the lede. In BuzzFeed’s case, the lede is that it’s not leading the way.



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