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Venture capitalist Andreessen Horowitz invests $50 mln in BuzzFeed

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[August 11, 2014] (Reuters) - Venture Capital firm Andreessen Horowitz is investing $50 million in BuzzFeed, the social news and entertainment website known for producing advertising-sponsored "listicles" that go viral.

Chris Dixon, a general partner at the venture capital firm, said in a blog post that he would be joining BuzzFeed's board. His arrival comes three months after Jon Steinberg said he would step down as president and chief operating officer.

Founded in 2006, BuzzFeed is among the top 10 most-visited news and information sites in the United States, joining the ranks of long-established media outlets such as CNN and the New York Times.

"BuzzFeed now reaches over 150 million people per month, is consistently profitable, and will generate triple digit millions in revenues this year," Dixon said.

A person familiar with the company told Reuters in February that BuzzFeed expects revenue to double to $120 million this year.

Andreessen Horowitz's investment more than doubles BuzzFeed's funding. It previously raised $46 million in venture capital from backers such as Lerer Ventures, Hearst, RRE and Japan's SoftBank Corp <9984.T>.

While BuzzFeed is known for its viral content, it has made a push into serious journalism, an effort that began two years ago when it hired former Politico reporter Ben Smith as editor-in-chief.

Last month, Smith fired writer Benny Johnson for at least 41 instances of plagiarism.

A BuzzFeed spokeswoman confirmed the investment and said it would be announcing more detailed plans Monday.

(Reporting by Liana B. Baker and Sarah McBride. Additional reporting by Jennifer Saba; Editing by Christopher Cushing)

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