It is official. Vice Media is on the brink of bankruptcy due to its inability to source a buyer over the past year. One valued at $6 billion, the Brooklyn based media company is due to be bought out of Chapter 11 by investors who include billionaire George Soros for about $400 million.
As part of the arrangement, Vice Media will sell itself to Soros Fund Management — founded by the 92-year-old left-wing activist – and Fortress Investment Group in a deal that would value the once-high-flying Vice at just $400 million, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday.
The bankruptcy follows Vice CEO Nancy Dubuc stepping down in February after a five-year run. Dubuc was then replaced by longtime execs Bruce Dixon and Hozefa Lokhandwala as co-CEOs. Senior lender Fortress “plans to find a role for Vice co-founder Smith” who is executive chairman and previously served as CEO prior to Dubuc’s hire. It is unclear what role Smith would take. Recently, Vice has been unable to pay many of its vendors and secured a $30 million “lifeline” from Fortress in late March.
Smith moved out of the CEO role — and the spotlight — after a series of critical reports revealed that Vice was built on bluffs and smoke and mirrors by the exec, who reportedly oversaw a toxic work environment for female staff.
The bankruptcy will wipe out the majority of Vice’s other shareholders, including TPG Group and James Murdoch of the Murdoch family who invested in the company via his Lupa Systems investment firm.
Vice Media Group still currently owns female-focused website Refinery29, London-based Pulse Films and i-D, a digital and print style publication covering fashion, culture and design.