Buzzfeed’s plans for a rumored 2018 IPO, first reported back in March by Axios, just suffered a serious setback. In what amounts to a serious blow to the digital media pioneer’s credibility with investors, not to mention the potential impact on its lofty venture-capital-fueled valuation, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that Buzzfeed is on track to miss its 2017 revenue projections by between 15% and 20%.
Buzzfeed had expected revenue of $350 million, but will probably miss that target by between $50 million and $70 million, per Wall Street Journal .
If accurate, that would be at least the second major revenue miss for the site in the past two years, after reports surfaced in the spring of 2016 that Buzzfeed had missed its 2015 revenue projections by nearly 50%.
Indeed, investors reportedly told Wall Street Journal that prospects for an IPO next year now look remote.
Of course, widely missing your projections isn’t the sort of behavior that will help entice investment bankers to take a chance and underwrite what would be the first IPO for a major digital-media startup, a space that has suffered more than its fair share of disappointments.
Earlier today, Wall Street Journal reported that Mashable would sell itself to Ziff Davis publishing for a paltry $50 million, just one-fifth of the lofty $250 million valuation it had reported as recently as the spring of last year.
Some BuzzFeed investors have become worried about rising costs as Buzzfeed expands into areas like news and entertainment. Those frustrations were aired at a board meeting in recent weeks, in which directors confronted management about its profligate spending on expansion.
In what could be construed as a silver lining, one person close to BuzzFeed told WSJ the performance reflects a more general malaise this year in ad-supported media businesses and isn’t particular to the company. This means that, even if Buzzfeed doesn’t IPO next year, at least its main rivals – Vox and Vice Media – are facing similar headwinds.