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Vice preps bankruptcy filing and $400 million sale

Struggling media company Vice Media Group is gearing up to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection — and then sell itself to some of its backers for about $400 million, according to a new report.

The Brooklyn-based company post-bankruptcy arrangement to sell to investors including Fortress Investment Group and Soros Fund Management would value it at $400 million, the Wall Street Journal reported. That would be less than 10% of its once high-flying $5.7 billion valuation back in 2017. The New York Times last week reported that Vice was prepping a bankruptcy filing.

Reps for Vice Media and Soros Fund Management declined to comment. Fortress did not respond to a request for comment.

Cash-strapped Vice Media has been searching for a buyer over the past year, to no avail. In February, Nancy Dubuc announced her exit as CEO after almost five years. The company subsequently appointed longtime execs Bruce Dixon and Hozefa Lokhandwala as co-CEOs.

Under the proposed sale to “senior lenders,” Fortress “plans to find a role for Vice co-founder Shane Smith,” who is executive chairman and previously served as CEO prior to Dubuc’s hire.

The bankruptcy and sale would “wipe out” most of Vice’s other shareholders, including TPG Group and James Murdoch (who invested in the company via his Lupa Systems investment firm), per the Journal report. Vice has been unable to pay many of its vendors and recently secured a $30 million “lifeline” from Fortress, the Journal previously reported.

Last week, Vice Media made layoffs in its news division and said it was pulling the plug on “Vice News Tonight,” its nightly show on Vice TV that had previously aired on HBO. In March, Jesse Angelo, Vice Media’s global president of news and entertainment, said he was exiting to form his own media and consulting outfit.

Vice Media Group’s five main business units are:, the Vice Studios film and TV production unit; the Vice TV television network; Vice News; and creative agency Virtue. The company’s portfolio also includes Refinery29, the media and entertainment brand focused on women acquired in 2019; London-based Pulse Films; and i-D, a digital and print style publication covering fashion, culture and design. Variety

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