VICE Media Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Amid Financial Struggles


VICE Media LLC, a media organization once heralded as a beacon for edgy, youth-oriented content, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

The financial restructuring move likely sets the stage for the company’s sale to Fortress Investment Group and Soros Fund Management for $225 million. The bankruptcy filing came weeks after VICE Media shut down its World News division and cancelled its flagship television program, VICE News Tonight, leading to over 100 layoffs.

According to the Chapter 11 documents, VICE and its 31 related LLCs owe Fortress a staggering $474.6 million. This financial crisis is a significant blow to the company, which once boasted a peak valuation of $5.7 billion in 2017.


“VICE Media Group today announced that it has agreed to the terms of an asset purchase agreement with a consortium of its lenders,” the company said in a press release. The agreement, often referred to as a “stalking horse” deal, involves a potential buyer committing to purchase the bankrupt company’s assets, thereby setting a minimum bid to discourage low offers.

Co-CEOs Hozefa Lokhandwala and Bruce Dixon expressed confidence in the sale process, stating that it would “strengthen the company and position VICE for long-term growth.” They also assured that the company would continue to operate during the Chapter 11 proceedings.

The company’s financial troubles have been attributed to a complex corporate structure and heavy debt, resulting from high-profile investments from companies like TPG, A&E Networks, Disney, and Fox. These investments fueled VICE’s growth but also led to an “unusually complex capital structure,” according to Frank Pometti of consultancy firm AlixPartners, who has been appointed as the Chief Restructuring Officer of VICE.

Pometti’s filing paints a picture of a company operating under a significant financial strain, unable to generate sufficient cash flow to service its debts and running at a loss for several years prior to the bankruptcy filing. This led to a cycle of delayed loan repayments and additional funding needed to keep the company afloat.


In addition, recent events have exacerbated VICE Media’s financial woes. In January, the company was due to receive a $34 million payment from the parent company of Antenna, a founding partner of VICE World News. The payment failed to materialize, and instead, VICE received a notice of partnership termination. This move, coupled with an arbitration ruling ordering VICE to pay $9.9 million to IT company WiPro, effectively forced VICE into bankruptcy.

The company’s bankruptcy filing follows a number of high-profile digital media bankruptcies and consolidations, reflecting a challenging environment for the industry. At its peak, VICE operated 35 international bureaus and a diverse portfolio, including a television network, film studios, digital brands, and an advertising agency. Today, its future is uncertain as it navigates its way through Chapter 11.

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