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Comcast takes advantage of AI rally to sell more BuzzFeed shares

FILE PHOTO: The Comcast NBC logo is shown on a building in Los Angeles, California

(Reuters) -Comcast Corp has cut its stake in BuzzFeed Inc by 8.5% since the end of January, cashing in on a rally in the shares of the digital media company on reports of a plan to partner with OpenAI, the artificial intelligence firm behind ChatGPT.

It has so far sold more than 11 million BuzzFeed shares since Jan. 30, reducing its stake to 15.5% from 24%. The sale fetched Comcast about $28 million, according to a Reuters calculation.

It sold roughly four million shares for an average price of around $2.90 apiece at the end of January, and most recently dumped another 500,000 shares for an average of $2.05 a share, filings by Comcast showed.

NBCUniversal, Comcast's entertainment unit, had invested $200 million in BuzzFeed in 2015 and injected another $200 million in 2016, valuing the company at around $1.7 billion.

As of Tuesday's close, BuzzFeed had a market value of just about $250 million. The company did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

Shares of BuzzFeed, which were trading at 69 cents at the close of 2022, surged as high as $4.25 in January following media reports of a multi-million dollar content deal with Meta Platforms Inc and plans to use OpenAI's ChatGPT.

Retail investor interest in AI-related shares have been rising since last month after OpenAI drew a multi-billion dollar investment from Microsoft Corp.

BuzzFeed, which is known for its online quizzes, reduced its workforce in 2022 as businesses cut down on ad spending on concerns over a slowing economy.

Its shares were down 5.4% on Wednesday, while Comcast rose 0.6%.

(Reporting by Eva Mathews in Bengaluru and Lance Tupper in New York; Editing by Arun Koyyur)