Vice Media Group Files for Bankruptcy
Vice has entered into a purchase agreement with a lender consortium and expects to emerge from bankruptcy in two to three months
BROOKLYN, N.Y.—Vice Media Group has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy as part of an asset purchase agreement (APA) with a consortium of its lenders that the company believes will allow it to emerge from bankruptcy as a stronger, more financially healthy company in two to three months.
Vice had once been a highly touted digital media company, valued as high as $5.7 billion with investments from Disney but in recent years has struggled to secure new capital or to sell itself. Under the APA, the Lender Consortium could purchase the company for about $225 million unless higher bids come in from other companies. The bankruptcy court will supervise the sales process.
The Lender Consortium includes Fortress Investment Group, Soros Fund Management and Monroe Capital. It has agreed to provide total purchase consideration of approximately $225 million in the form of a credit bid for substantially all of the Company's assets, in addition to the assumption of significant liabilities upon closing, the parties said.
To facilitate the sale, Vice has filed voluntary petitions for reorganization under Chapter 11 in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York.
In announcing the deal, Vice said it continues to operate normally and that it has obtained commitments for debtor-in-possession (DIP) financing from the Lender Consortium, as well as consent to use more than $20 million of cash that constitutes the cash collateral of the Lender Consortium.
Vice said that it anticipates that this financing, as well as the cash generated from ongoing operations, will be more than sufficient to fund its business throughout the sale process, which it expected to conclude in the next two to three months.
All of Vice's multi-platform media brands, including Vice, Vice News, Vice TV, Vice Studios, Pulse Films, Virtue, Refinery29 and i-D, will continue to produce and deliver content across platforms, the company said.
Substantially all of the company's international entities, and the Vice TV joint venture with A&E, are not part of the Chapter 11 filing.
"Vice serves a huge global audience with a unique brand of news, entertainment and lifestyle content," said Bruce Dixon and Hozefa Lokhandwala, Vice's co-chief executive officers. "This accelerated court-supervised sale process will strengthen the Company and position Vice for long-term growth, thereby safeguarding the kind of authentic journalism and content creation that makes Vice such a trusted brand for young people and such a valued partner to brands, agencies and platforms. We will have new ownership, a simplified capital structure and the ability to operate without the legacy liabilities that have been burdening our business. We look forward to completing the sale process in the next two to three months and charting a healthy and successful next chapter at Vice."
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George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.