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BuzzFeed will close its entire French operation and lay off at least a dozen employees, an individual with knowledge of the situation told TheWrap.
“We are taking steps to reconsider our operation in France given the uncertain path to growth in the French market,” a spokesperson for the company told TheWrap on Thursday. “We have begun a consultation process with BuzzFeed France and will follow up when we have more information to share.”
“Brutal and completely unexpected decision,” tweeted BuzzFeed France journalist Stephane Jourdain. “It’s very sad.”
“And I thought that my biggest concern during this maternity leave would be the amount of diapers to change,” the site’s editor-in-chief Cecile Dehesdin, tweeted from maternity leave.
Décision brutale et complètement inattendue. On sort de quatre super mois en terme de trafic et d’infos. @sayseal avait constitué une équipe géniale, hyper impliquée, des super gratteurs que j’ai adoré diriger. C’est très triste.
— Stephane Jourdain (@s_jourdain) June 7, 2018
Et moi qui pensait que mon plus gros souci pendant ce congé maternité serait la quantité de couches à changer…
— Cecile Dehesdin (@sayseal) June 7, 2018
The closure was also reported in the French newspaper Le Monde. Staffers at BuzzFeed France were informed Thursday morning of the news and that the company was re-evaluating the operation in that country.
BuzzFeed France learned the office is closing after a meeting this morning. Management told staff it was part of a “transformation process” at BuzzFeed. All 14 staff expecting they’ll be made redundant.
— Mark Di Stefano ???????? (@MarkDiStef) June 7, 2018
“We are taking initial steps to reconsider our operations there,” said Scott Lamb, BuzzFeed’s vice president of international growth in a company-wide email obtained by TheWrap. “We have questions about whether we can build a sustainable business in France.”
The France decision is the latest in a string of bad news to buffet the company’s international operations. In December, BuzzFeed laid off dozens of employees from its office in the United Kingdom, amid budget shortfalls and declining traffic. The cuts in both offices likely stem from a more than $70 million revenue shortfall of a $350 million target for 2017. Talk of an IPO also tapered off around the same time. Growth has been stronger in recent months.