Vice Media files for bankruptcy to facilitate sale

Vice Media Group, popular for websites such as Vice and Motherboard, filed for bankruptcy protection on Monday to engineer its sale to a group of lenders, capping years of financial difficulties and top-executive departures.

The bankruptcy filing comes amid a challenging period for several technology and media companies, as they resort to downsizing in recent months due to a turbulent economy and weak advertising market.

Vice was among a group of fast-rising digital media ventures that once commanded rich valuations as they courted millennial audiences. It rose to prominence alongside its co-founder, Shane Smith, who built his media empire from a single Canadian magazine.

In April, the company said it would cancel popular TV program “Vice News Tonight” as part of a broader restructuring that would result in job cuts across the digital media firm’s global news business.

Last month, BuzzFeed Inc said it would shutter its news division, which was renowned for its irreverent and probing coverage, but ultimately succumbed to the challenges of its digital-first business model.

Vice said that the lender consortium, which includes Fortress Investment Group, Soros Fund Management and Monroe Capital, will provide about $225 million in the form of a credit bid for substantially all of the company’s assets and also assume significant liabilities at closing.

Under a credit bid, creditors can swap their secured debt, rather than pay cash, for the company’s assets.

The company listed both assets and liabilities in the range of $500 million to $1 billion, according to a court filing.


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