Jun 22, 2023 - Economy

Fortress Investment Group set to acquire Vice Media

Vice Media offices display the Vice logo at dusk on February 1, 2019 in Venice, California

Vice Media. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

A Fortress Investment Group-led syndicate is set to acquire Vice Media, leading to the cancelation of Vice's bankruptcy auction.

Why it matters: The pending deal marks another chapter in the distressed media company's dramatic history that once included a $5.7 billion valuation.

Details: The consortium of investors, which also includes Soros Fund Management and Monroe Capital, presented a "stalking horse bid" of $225 million to the court-supervised sale process. Vice said in an email to its employees that it expects the transaction to close around July 7.

  • That bid comes at a lower price than an offer from GoDigital, a privately held holding group that owns Latino digital media giant NGLmitú.
  • GoDigital said in a statement that to its knowledge, its bid was the only outside bid submitted. "The sellers chose to turn down this opportunity even though it was a bid higher than their own," it said.
  • A source tells Axios that negotiations between Fortress and GoDigital over the structure of GoDigital's bid, including the amount of cash and debt, fell through.
  • GoDigital said it "worked until the last minute to make adjustments that would help meet a productive compromise. However, at the end of the day, the sellers and we have different values."
  • The New York Times first reported the news.

Catch up quick: Vice was co-launched by Shane Smith, Suroosh Alvi and Gavin McInnes — who later founded the far-right group the Proud Boys — as a magazine in Canada in 1994.

  • Nearly 20 years into its history and after raising more than $1.6 billion from a slew of investors, Vice filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last month.
  • CEO Nancy Dubuc had stepped down in February. Other executives also departed, and the company had laid off more than 100 employees in April.
  • Fortress was already an investor in Vice and agreed to provide more than $30 million in debt financing to the company earlier this year.

Vice declined to comment. Fortress did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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