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The short-form video startup, which raised a whopping $1.75 billion in funding, is telling investors that it is winding down operations, The Wall Street Journal was first to report Wednesday afternoon. Quibi is said to still have $800 million in the bank, and is expected to return at least some of that money to investors.
"While we have enough capital to continue operating for a significant period of time, we made the difficult decision to wind down the business, return cash to our shareholders, and say goodbye to our talented colleagues with grace," CEO Meg Whitman said in a statement. "We continue to believe that there is an attractive market for premium, short-form content. Over the coming months we will be working hard to find buyers for these valuable assets who can leverage them to their full potential."
Quibi had hoped to lure mobile-first viewers with big-budget short-form content, but failed to attract a sizable audience for its subscription service. Quibi's chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg tried to sell Quibi content to NBCUniversal and Facebook in recent weeks, according to The Information. However, those talks apparently went nowhere, as did efforts to sell the entire company, leading to the decision to shut down.
Janko Roettgers (@jank0) is a senior reporter at Protocol, reporting on the shifting power dynamics between tech, media, and entertainment, including the impact of new technologies. Previously, Janko was Variety's first-ever technology writer in San Francisco, where he covered big tech and emerging technologies. He has reported for Gigaom, Frankfurter Rundschau, Berliner Zeitung, and ORF, among others. He has written three books on consumer cord-cutting and online music and co-edited an anthology on internet subcultures. He lives with his family in Oakland.