VICE logo displayed on the top wall of a building

Vice Creditors Buy Company Out of Bankruptcy for $350M

The price tag was $125 million higher than their original “stalking horse” bid made in mid-May.

A month and a half after filing for bankruptcy, Vice Media Group is in the headlines again. An investment group consisting of three Vice Media creditors bought the company out of bankruptcy for $350 million, $125 million higher than their original “stalking horse” bid. Investors in the group include Fortress Investment Group, Soros Fund Management and Monroe Capital. The U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York approved the purchase by the investment group. The deal is expect to close on or near July 7, reports TV Technology.

“Following a robust court-supervised process, we are pleased to receive Court approval for this transaction, which we believe represents the best path forward for Vice. The relationships we have built with our audience, creators, distribution partners, brand and agency constituents are foundational to Vice, and we look forward to strengthening those relationships as we continue to deliver the award-winning storytelling and journalism that Vice is known for,” said co-chief executives Bruce Dixon and Hozefa Lokhandwala.

Competing bid rejected

Vice Media Group, which was once valued at $5.7 billion, received other offers, including one from GoDigital Media Group which submitted a bid for $300 million. However, Fortress Investment Group was concerned that the company wouldn’t be able to get funding so the investment group was named the winning bidder, reports CNBC. In a statement to CNBC, GoDigital chief strategy officer Craig Greiwe said they were willing to acquire Vice Media on “reasonable terms” and had shown that they had the ability to finance the purchase price.

In a statement emailed to Reuters, GoDigital Media said their bid was rejected.

“We think Fortress’s decision is the wrong choice, and the company, employees, partners and consumers will suffer,” the company said.

Vice Media employees were notified in a memo last week from Dixon and Lokhandwala.

“We are providing you with this update in real-time to let you know the Company’s intention to move forward with this sale,” Dixon and Lokhandwala said. “It still hasn’t been finalized by the court, but once it is, it will mark an important milestone on the road to long-term financial health and stability for VMG.”

“Under new ownership, we look forward to a new chapter in VMG’s history, with a renewed focus and commitment to creating world-class content for our audiences and partners,” they added.

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Fortress managing director Brian Stewart commented on the purchase of Vice Media Group.

“Vice produces incredibly compelling and distinctive content that reaches global audiences every single day. As Vice moves into its next chapter, we look forward to working closely with the Company’s leadership team to execute on its strategy. We have confidence in the management team and believe that the Company is now well-positioned to build on its strong legacy to create significant value for all its stakeholders,” said Stewart, according to TV Technology.

VICE Media Group owns a range of brands including creative agency VirtuePulse FilmsVICE StudiosVICE DistributioniDRefinery29UnbotheredSomos and 29Rooms. Most of the company’s international entities are not included in the bankruptcy filing.

Insider Take

What’s next for Vice Media Group under new ownership? One source told CNBC that the investment group will likely own Vice for two or three years before trying to sell it. Until then, like most acquisitions, we can expect cost-cutting measures, restructuring and perhaps divesture of certain assets to pay off Vice’s creditors and produce a profit for the new owners and other stakeholders.

Copyright © 2023 Authority Media Network, LLC. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is prohibited.

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