On May 15th, Vice Media Group filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the Southern District of New York. The company had been trying to sell due to a significant lack of growth in recent years.
Vice Media Group began as a magazine in 1994 and grew to a digital and video giant starting in 2001. Once valued at $5.7 billion, Vice Media Group suffered major losses over the past six years that it just couldn’t bounce back from.
Vice Media Group has tried a number of options to bring its revenue up, including selling divisions of the company to separate buyers. Some of those assets included a female-focused digital brand called Refinery29 which Vice bought in 2019 for $400 million. Additionally, Vice considered selling its in-house marketing agency Virtue as well as the culture and fashion platform I-D and its video production division Vice Studios.
The company couldn’t find bidders willing to pay the value of such divisions, forcing Vice to file for bankruptcy, eliminating an immense number of investments from big television companies and other private investors Vice had acquired since 2010.
Some of Vice’s investors include 21st Century Fox, who invest $70 million into the media group in 2013 when it was reporting revenues of $175 million the previous year. A&E Networks and The Walt Disney Company also made investments of several hundred million dollars each. Investment firms Technology Crossover Ventures and TPG invested totaling millions as well.
Vice then began accruing massive amounts of debts while losing investors and top executives.
Vice agreed to an “asset purchase agreement with a consortium of lends that had previously lent it money,” including a loan from The Fortress Consortium totaling $30 million in 2023 alone. The Consortium is currently the primary bidder at $225 million, though Vice Media Group is allowed to accept higher offers from other interested parties.
Vice Media Group will keep $20 million to stay running through the bankruptcy process, which is expected to take a few months and vows to pay back vendors and suppliers.