Ozy Media will cease its activities amid the uproar – .

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Ozy Media will cease its activities amid the uproar – .


Ozy Media said it would go out of business, less than a week after a New York Times article raising questions about the company’s business practices led to high-profile departures and the withdrawal of some major advertisers.

“At Ozy, we are fortunate to have a remarkable team of dedicated collaborators. Many of them are world-class journalists and experienced professionals to whom we owe immense gratitude and who are wonderful colleagues. It is therefore with the heaviest heart that we must announce today that we are closing the doors of Ozy, ”the board of directors said in a press release on Friday.

The company had gone through a whirlwind after the New York Times reported on Sunday that Ozy COO Samir Rao posed as a GOOG 2.40% YouTube executive of Alphabet Inc. during of a fundraising appeal in February with Goldman Sachs Group Inc. chief executive Ozy Carlos Watson in a statement Sunday said Rao’s behavior during the appeal stemmed from mental health issues.

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Since then, Marc Lasry, investor in Ozy and co-owner of the Milwaukee Bucks National Basketball Association team, has resigned from Ozy’s board, citing a lack of relevant experience; Katty Kay, a prominent recruit from Ozy who was a correspondent and presenter for the BBC, has left the company; and several major Ozy advertisers have suspended their advertising campaigns, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.

On Tuesday, Ozy’s board of directors announced that it had hired law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton and Garrison LLP to “conduct a review of the company’s business activities.”

Ozy Media said it would go out of business, less than a week after a New York Times article raising questions about the company’s business practices led to high-profile departures and the withdrawal of some major advertisers. (Photo by Matthew Eisman / Obtain

The fallout also spread to Ozy investors. SV Angel sold its shares in Ozy, an unusual transaction for a venture capital firm. Axios reported SV Angel’s move earlier. Axel Springer, another investor in Ozy, said he supports the board’s investigation into the company’s business practices.

Ozy had raised $ 83 million in April 2020 and had a valuation of $ 159 million, according to PitchBook Data, a research startup.

Beyond Axel Springer and SV Angel, the company had raised funds from funders including Emerson Collective, the philanthropic organization founded by Laurene Powell Jobs. Ozy has also attracted investment from Lasry and David Drummond, the former general counsel of Google’s parent company, Alphabet.

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Watson co-founded Ozy in 2013 after being a banker at Goldman Sachs and serving as an anchor on MSNBC. The name of the company comes from “Ozymandias”, a poem by Percy Bysshe Shelley about the statue of a ruler whose kingdom has been eroded by time. On his website, Ozy says he interprets the poem as “a call to think big while remaining humble.”

Ozy has posted news-focused articles, videos, and podcasts. Watson hosted a talk show that featured meetings with musicians and actors including Matthew McConaughey, Scarlett Johansson and “Hamilton” star Daveed Diggs. Ozy also hosted Ozy Fest, a series of events featuring bold names in entertainment, politics and business.

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