Ken Lerer, a founder of strategic communications powerhouse Robinson Lake Lerer & Montgomery, has stepped down as chairman of BuzzFeed. He had been at the digital news platform for more than 10 years. Along with Arianna Huffington, Andrew Breitbart and BuzzFeed co-founder and CEO Jonah Peretti, Lerer was one of the founders of the Huffington Post (now HuffPost). He also operates Lerer Hippeau, a venture capital fund, which has invested in news and information website Axios as well as Refinery29, an online publisher aimed at women. Lerer’s resignation follows a string of financial difficulties at Buzzfeed. The company had planned a public offering in late 2018, but it was postponed and a New York Times report says that it may be seeking a sale instead. There was a 15 percent staff cut earlier this year and BuzzFeed has not yet recognized the BuzzFeed News Union, which was formed when its staff voted earlier this year to join the national News Guild.
Texas Monthly, which was acquired for $25 million by private equity firm Genesis Park in 2016, has been purchased by Randa Duncan Williams, chairman of Enterprise Products Company, the oil pipeline company founded by her late father, Dan Duncan, in 1968. According to Forbes, Williams is the ninth richest person in Texas. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Dan Goodgame, who came on as editor-in-chief of the publication earlier this year, will stay on after the sale, as will Texas Monthly president Scott Brown. According to the Texas Monthly website, the print magazine has a paid circulation of 300,000 and is read monthly by 2.1 million people. It is rapidly expanding its digital audience and events business as well, with digital revenue up from eight percent of ad sales in 2017 to 20 percent in 2019. Revenue from event sponsorship has climbed from six percent to 18 percent. In a statement, Williams said that “the journalistic integrity and quality for which Texas Monthly is known will remain unchanged as we build upon what Genesis Park has done over the past two years.”
The deal to sell Conde Nast’s W magazine, which had been rumored for over a month, has closed. Future Media Group, a newly formed media company that will also include Surface and Watch Journal, is picking up the title for an undisclosed amount. Editor-in-chief Stefano Tonchi, who had been actively involved in the search for a new owner, will be exiting. Replacing him will be Sara Moonves, who has been serving as the magazine’s style director. Moonves is also the daughter of former CBS chief executive officer Les Moonves. In a statement, Future Media said that W would remain in Condé Nast’s offices for a transitional period before combining its operations with those of Future Media’s other properties. Future said it plans to maintain W’s current eight-issue-a-year production schedule, but will also focus on expanding “beyond its core print distribution into various offline, online and augmented formats,” according to a report in WWD.