Vice Media filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the Court for the Southern District of New York on Monday, becoming the latest digital media giant to throw in the towel after years of economic struggles.
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The company, which owns emblematic websites such as Vice, Motherboard, and Refinery, announced that it had filed for bankruptcy in a press release on Monday after months of failing to find a buyer. In the announcement, Vice Media stated that a consortium of its lenders, made up of Fortress Investment Group, Soros Fund Management, and Monroe Capital, had agreed to purchase the company for $225 million, a far cry from the company’s $5.7 billion valuation in 2017.
Vice Media noted that “substantially” all of its international entities, including its Vice TV joint venture with A&E, were not part of the bankruptcy sale.
Should the creditors’ bid to purchase the company go through, it would assume “significant liabilities upon closing,” Vice Media said. However, outside parties will be allowed to submit higher or better bids for the company, so the offer from Fortress, Soros Fund Management, and Monroe Capital isn’t set in stone yet.
Unlike its competitor, BuzzFeed News, which was completely shut down recently, Vice Media aims to continue publishing under a new owner.
“VICE serves a huge global audience with a unique brand of news, entertainment and lifestyle content,” Bruce Dixon and Hozefa Lokhandwala, Vice Media’s co-CEOs, said in a statement. “This accelerated court-supervised sale process will strengthen the Company and position VICE for long-term growth, thereby safeguarding the kind of authentic journalism and content creation that makes VICE such a trusted brand for young people and such a valued partner to brands, agencies and platforms. We will have new ownership, a simplified capital structure and the ability to operate without the legacy liabilities that have been burdening our business.”
Dixon and Lokhandwala explained that they expected the bankruptcy sale to be completed over the next two or three months. Vice Media received $20 million in cash from Fortress, Soros Fund Management, and Monroe Capital to fund its operations during the sale process. The media company stated it will continue to pay employees their wages and benefits without interruption as well as supplies on normal terms.