The Vice Media Group has recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The organization has had money issues for a while. Soros Fund Management is part of a group of lenders that is now in talks to buy the firm. The group expects to pay around $400 million to acquire the Brooklyn-based firm. After seeing a decline in income for over a year, Vice Media finally decided to try and sell the company.
Vice was previously a dominant brand that was worth about $6 billion in 2017 and frequently acquired other businesses. In 2019, it spent upwards of $400 million to acquire a number of firms and brands, the most notable of which being the women’s brand Refinery29.
Female employees filed several complaints, alleging a culture of sexual and verbal harassment. Because of the lawsuit, then-CEO Shane Smith had to step down and be replaced by Nancy Dubuc.
In order to keep the firm running and pay off debts, the company secured debt financing from the current purchasers earlier this year. Soros’s acquisition of Vice had an intriguing path to becoming a valuable asset. The original Montreal ‘punk zine’ included underground music and art and was operated by just three individuals.
Over time, it expanded into a worldwide network known in over 30 countries, with its own cable channel, “VICELAND,” and a plethora of online media material. As Vice’s popularity expanded, advertisers took note of its ability to reach a younger demographic. They raised money from well-known companies such as Disney and others.
The transition from lucrative to losing money is not unique to Vice. BuzzFeed, once a megabrand, has just collapsed, yet its coverage of major stories has been awarded a Pulitzer Prize. Meanwhile, long-established networks like CNN, NPR, ABC, and others have had to start laying off employees.