This has been a brutal year of fast-rising interest rates and fast-declining tech valuations, contributing to the recent cascade of mass layoffs and crypto bankruptcies. Next year, though, could be even more brutal. Money-losing companies that need to raise capital may find themselves running out of options: The pressure to sell may get more intense. A signal of how bad things could get, at least for private tech firms, came on Monday with our report about a venture investor telling startups to prepare for “deep cuts” and to assume they won’t be able to raise new money until 2024. Then there’s today’s news that Axel Springer’s tech news site Protocol is closing, which feels like another straw in the wind of what is to come.
Companies reliant on advertising could be in for a particularly tough time. Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav told investors today the ad market was weaker now than it was during Covid-19, while BuzzFeed executives said Monday they were preparing for “further deterioration in the macro environment.” It makes sense, then, that a new round of digital media consolidation could be on the way. Axios reported today that CVC Capital Partners teamed up with media collective Group Black to make an offer for Vox Media. Separately, BuzzFeed’s latest financial results on Monday showed that its losses steeply increased in the third quarter. It burned through nearly $6 million in cash in that period, almost as much as it burned through in the first two quarters of the year.