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HomeBusinessVice Media Group Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection Ahead of Sale...

Vice Media Group Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection Ahead of Sale to Lenders

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Credit Vice Media

Digital media and broadcasting company Vice Media Group has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in order to facilitate its sale to a group of lenders, according to multiple outlets. This move comes after a prolonged period of financial challenges and the departure of key executives.

The bankruptcy filing is a consequence of the tough times faced by numerous technology and media companies, which have been compelled to reduce costs in order to weather a sluggish advertising market amidst a slowdown in economic growth.

Vice Media, a company known for its websites Vice and Motherboard, has disclosed that a consortium of lenders, including Fortress Investment Group, Soros Fund Management, and Monroe Capital, will offer about $225 million in a credit bid for approximately all of the company’s assets. These lenders will also assume significant liabilities upon the completion of the sale of the company that was valued at $5.7 billion about six years ago. Vice Media has reportedly listed its assets and liabilities in the range of $500 million to $1 billion.

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Despite the bankruptcy filing, the company assures us that its day-to-day operations will continue without disruption. This includes running Vice, its primary website, as well as its advertising agency Virtue, Pulse Films branch, and Refinery29, a website geared towards women that Vice bought in 2019.

The content pioneer was once part of a cohort of rapidly growing digital media ventures that enjoyed high valuations while targeting millennial audiences. It gained prominence alongside its co-founder Shane Smith, who built the media empire from a single Canadian magazine.

In April 2023, Vice Media announced the cancellation of its popular TV program, “Vice News Tonight,” as part of a broader restructuring of its news division. This decision came shortly after mass media company BuzzFeed Inc. announced the closure of its news division.

Like its counterparts BuzzFeed and Vox Media Inc., Vice Media heavily relied on social media networks, expecting them to deliver a large audience of young, upwardly mobile readers sought after by advertisers. While Vice did attract millions of readers, monetizing them proved to be a challenge as the majority of digital ad revenue flowed to major tech platforms.

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The bankruptcy filing offers Vice Media some relief from its debt burden, giving lenders an opportunity to salvage their investments, reports say. During a difficult financial time in 2019, the company obtained a significant $250 million loan from Fortress and Soros Fund Management. However, Vice Media has subsequently stopped making payments on this loan, worsening its financial problems.

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