Vice Media filed for bankruptcy protection last month in a move that comes after years of financial difficulties.
Online publisher Vice Media will be sold to a consortium led by Fortes Investment Group after a bankruptcy court approved its $350 million bid on Friday.
The investor group, which includes Soros Fund Management and Monroe Capital, raised the offer to $350m for all of Vice’s assets and some liabilities, up from an initial bid of $225m. The offer is in the form of a credit bid.
Popular with a millennial audience through its websites Vice and Motherboard, Vice Media filed for bankruptcy protection last month in a move that capped years of financial difficulties, top-executive departures and earlier attempts by the company to sell itself.
“We believe [this] represents the best way forward for Vice,” the media company’s co-CEOs, Bruce Dixon and Hozefa Lokhandwala, said in a statement.
Vice’s lawyer, Fred Sosnick, told the court that the sale would put the company “in a secure position for the future.” Sosnick said 10 offers were received to acquire the entire company and five for specific parts of the business.
When Vice filed for bankruptcy in May, it owed $474.6 million to a group of Fortes-led creditors. Vice borrowed an additional $10 million from those creditors during its bankruptcy proceedings.
The Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing was announced weeks after the company announced it would cancel its flagship Vice News Tonight program and lay off employees. More than 100 of the 1,500 employees are expected to be affected by the layoffs, the Wall Street Journal reported. The company also said it will end its Vice World News brand, making Vice News its sole brand worldwide.
Privately held vice was worth $5.7 billion in 2017. Its investors include James Murdoch’s Lupa Systems, TPG, Technology Crossover Ventures and Antenna Group.
Internet media publications have struggled lately to grow their ad-dependent revenue as big tech platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Alphabet’s Google have taken the lion’s share of digital ad spending.
Meanwhile, the advertising market was under pressure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, further challenging the business of online publishers.
Vice’s filing came amid a wave of media layoffs and closings — including job cuts at the Gannett newspaper-publishing chain, National Public Radio and the Washington Post. In April, BuzzFeed Inc announced that its Pulitzer Prize-winning digital media outlet BuzzFeed News was being shut down as part of a cost-cutting drive by its corporate parent.