Vice Media, once a pioneer of new media, prepares to file for bankruptcy amid dwindling revenue and interest
Vice Media, a once-thriving new media company, is preparing to file for bankruptcy after attempts to find a buyer for the company proved unsuccessful. Vice was once valued at $5.7 billion and was seen as a pioneer of new media, with its provocative documentaries and innovative approach to journalism. But in recent years, the company has struggled to maintain its position in an increasingly competitive market.
According to The New York Times, more than five companies expressed interest in acquiring Vice, but the chances of a sale are now seen as increasingly remote. The decline of Vice comes just over a week after BuzzFeed News announced its closure and three months after Vox laid off 130 people, representing 7 percent of staff.
If a buyer is not found, Vice’s largest debtholder, Fortress Investment Group, could end up controlling the company. Vice would continue operating normally and run an auction to sell the company over a 45-day period. Fortress holds senior debt, which means it is first in line for a payout. Other investors, including Disney, have already written down their investments and are not getting their money back, sources told the paper.
Vice’s decline is a far cry from its zenith in 2017 when it was viewed as an avatar of new media. The company had 3,000 employees around the world, working on a cable network, more than a dozen websites, two shows on HBO, an ad agency, a film studio, a record label, and a bar in London. Its headquarters in Brooklyn were seen as the coolest place to work in town.
However, in recent years, the company has struggled to find its footing. In March 2018, Vice’s founder Shane Smith stepped down after reports of sexual misconduct within the company. Smith was replaced as CEO by Nancy Dubuc, but she left in February this year, along with Jesse Angelo, the company’s global president of news and entertainment. Dubuc was replaced by longtime company insiders Bruce Dixon and Hozefa Lokhandwala as co-CEOs.
In a statement, Vice said: “Vice Media Group has been engaged in a comprehensive evaluation of strategic alternatives and planning. The company, its board and stakeholders continue to be focused on finding the best path for the company.”
The fall of Vice is the latest example of a once-promising media company collapsing amid dwindling revenue and interest. It remains to be seen what the future holds for Vice, but for now, the company’s fate is uncertain.
By: Mr. WWK