Monday, October 2, 2023

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Vice Media Heading For Bankruptcy: Reports

Washington [US]: The digital-media disrupter, Vice Media is preparing to file for bankruptcy, if it fails to find a buyer, according to the New York Times citing two people with knowledge of its operations.

he brash digital media disrupter that has charmed giants like Disney and Fox into investing can file for bankruptcy in the coming weeks, according to three people familiar with the matter who wasn’t authorized to discuss the potential bankruptcy on the record.

The New York Times reported that the company has been struggling to find a buyer to avoid declaring bankruptcy but there is still a chance that the company might find one.

More than five companies have expressed interest in acquiring Vice, according to a person briefed on the discussions. The chances of that, however, are growing increasingly slim, said one of the people with knowledge of the potential bankruptcy.

As per the New York Times, the bankruptcy filing would be a bleak coda to the tumultuous story of Vice, a new-media interloper that sought to supplant the media establishment before persuading it to invest hundreds of millions of dollars.

In 2017, after a funding round from the private-equity firm TPG, Vice was worth USD 5.7 billion. But today, by most accounts, it’s worth a tiny fraction of that.

In the event of a bankruptcy, Vice’s largest debtholder, Fortress Investment Group, could end up controlling the company, said one of the people.

Vice would continue operating normally and run an auction to sell the company over a 45-day period, with Fortress in pole position as the most likely acquirer.

And the Fortress holds the senior debt, which means it gets paid out first in the event of a sale, unlike Disney and Fox, which have already written down their investments and are not getting a return, the person said.

“Vice Media Group has been engaged in a comprehensive evaluation of strategic alternatives and planning,” Vice said in a statement on Monday. “The company, its board and stakeholders continue to be focused on finding the best path for the company,” the statement added.

Vice began as a punk magazine in Montreal more than two decades ago. Over the years, it blossomed into a global media company with a movie studio, an ad agency, a glossy show on HBO and bureaus in far-flung world capitals.

Disney, after investing hundreds of millions in Vice, explored buying the company in 2015 for more than USD 3 billion, according to the two people familiar with the conversations, according to the New York Times.

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