The Wall Street Journal reported that Vice Media was close to a deal to save the media company from bankruptcy. This agreement would involve the Soros Fund Management (an investment firm founded in 2000 by George Soros), and Fortress Investment Group.
Vice must sell to investment groups, or get another offer to avoid Chapter 11. In 2017, the company was valued at $6 billion, but it is now only worth $400 million.
In the last few months, Vice World News and Vice News Tonight, its global reporting division, have been shut down.
Vice Media Group operates Vice Studios (a film and television production company), Vice TV (a television network), Virtue (a creative agency), and Vice News. The media group also owns Pulse Films and Pulse Magazine, as well as the Refinery29 website.
Nancy Dubuc, Vice’s former CEO for five years, left the company in Febraury. She was succeeded by Bruce Dixon and Hozefa Lohandwala, who were co-chief executive officers.
They added, “We are changing Vice News in order to better adapt to market realities and align more closely with where and how we see our audience engaging most with our content.”
Fortress Investment Group is Vice’s largest senior lender. After nearly a year of trying to find a buyer for the company, it will most likely take control. Vice’s remaining shareholders would be wiped out by the sale, including TPG Group, Sixth Street Partners and James Murdoch.
According to the WSJ Fortress intends to keep Vice’s current management. This includes finding a role, for Vice’s co-founder Shane Smith who is currently Vice’s executive chairman. It is not clear what role Smith will play if the investors decide to purchase the company.
Smith was Vice’s chief executive officer before Dubuc. However, he left the company after reports of sexual misconduct and accusations that Smith had built the media outlet based on lies. This is according to an article in New York Magazine from 2018.
The New York Post reported that Vice Media, Soros Fund Management and Fortress have not responded to requests for comments.