Vice Media offices display the Vice logo in Venice, California.
Mario Tama | Getty Images
Vice Media Group, once the darling of digital media, filed for bankruptcy protection Monday after years of financial trouble.
A consortium of Vice’s lenders, which includes Fortress Investment, Soros Fund Management and Monroe Capital, is seeking to acquire the company following the filing.
The digital media pioneer, once valued at $5.7 billion and known for sites including Vice and Motherboard, was restructuring and cutting work in its global intelligence business in recent months.
The group looking to buy the company will make a $225 million loan offer for most of Vice Media’s assets, the company announced Monday, along with significant commitments.
Vice is one of several digital media and technology companies that have been forced to restructure this year amid a sluggish economy and weak advertising market. Buzzfeed closed its news division last month and announced substantial layoffs.
Launched in Canada in 1994 as a fringe magazine, Vice has expanded worldwide with youth-focused content and a prominent social media presence. However, it endured several years of financial difficulties, as tech giants such as Google and Target siphoned off global ad spend.
To facilitate its sale, Vice filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. If the application is approved, other parties will be able to apply for the company. Credit offers allow lenders to exchange secured debt for company assets, rather than paying in cash.
The consortium’s offer includes a $20 million cash commitment to allow Vice’s operations to continue during the sale process. It is expected to close within two to three months, the company said.
Vice said its various multi-platform media brands including Vice News, Vice TV, Pulse Films, Virtue, Refinery29 and iD will continue to operate, while its international entities and Vice TV’s joint venture with A&E are not part of the Chapter 11 filing.
Deputy CEOs Bruce Dixon and Hozefa Lokhandwala said in a statement that the sale process “will strengthen the company and position VICE for long-term growth.”
“We will have new ownership, a simplified capital structure and the ability to operate without legacy liabilities that have burdened our business,” they added.