Bankrupt media company Vice Media – once worth nearly $6 billion – has been sold for $350 million to a consortium of former lenders that includes a George Soros-linked fund.
Vice, co-founder of major media executive Shane Smith, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in May after the company struggled for months to pay its bills.
There were several offers for the insolvent media company but a bankruptcy judge in the Southern District of New York said in June that the best option came from the group of lenders, which also includes Fortress Investment Group and Monroe Capital.
“We are extremely pleased to complete the acquisition of Vice and build on the successes of one of the most recognized brands in news and entertainment,” Vice and Fortress said in a joint statement late Monday.
They continued, “We look forward to building a strong company committed to bringing award-winning content to audiences, brands and partners.” With a strong management team, Vice is well positioned to grow its uniquely compelling world-class businesses and into the next chapter to increase the value.”
The deal represents a fire sale for the company, which was valued at a whopping $5.7 billion in 2017 under Smith, who was serving as CEO at the time.
“This marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter for Vice,” said the company’s current Co-CEOs Bruce Dixon and Hozefa Lokhandwala.
Smith, who led the company as CEO from inception in 1994 until 2018, was then replaced by former A+E Networks CEO Nancy Dubuc following a spate of reports of an alleged fraternity-house culture at the company.
Dubuc, who has been committed to cutting costs and eliminating the toxic culture, retired earlier this year after five years at the helm.
Jesse Angelo, the Global President of News & Entertainment, left the company shortly thereafter.
In April, Vice announced it was downsizing its news division, including cutting jobs and discontinuing its signature news show, Vice News Tonight.