Vice Media, a digital-media disruptor, is preparing to file for bankruptcy, according to two individuals with knowledge of its operations quoted by the New York Times.
Reportedly, the disruptive digital media company that wooed Disney and Fox into investing could file for bankruptcy within the next few weeks. According to The New York Times, the company has struggled to find a buyer in order to avoid bankruptcy, but there is still a possibility that it will.
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According to a person briefed on the discussions, more than five companies have expressed interest in acquiring Vice. However, the likelihood of this happening is diminishing, according to a person with knowledge of the prospective bankruptcy. According to the New York Times, Vice’s bankruptcy filing would be a dismal conclusion to its tumultuous history. In 2017, following a funding round led by the private-equity firm TPG, Vice was valued at $5.8 billion. However, current estimates place its value at a minuscule fraction of that amount.
Fortress Investment Group, Vice’s largest creditor, could wind up controlling the company in the event of bankruptcy. Vice would continue to operate normally and hold a 45-day auction to sell the company, with Fortress in the lead as the most probable buyer. And the Fortress retains the senior debt, meaning it is paid out first in the event of a sale, as opposed to Disney and Fox, which previously wrote down their investments and are not receiving a return, according to the source.
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In Montreal, Vice launched as a rebel magazine more than two decades ago. Over the years, it grew into a global media conglomerate with a film studio, an advertising agency, a lavish program on HBO, and offices in numerous world capitals. After investing hundreds of millions of dollars in Vice, Disney reportedly considered purchasing the company for more than $3 billion in 2015, according to two individuals familiar with the conversations cited by The New York Times.