Vice Media files for bankruptcy to enable sale to lenders including Soros and Fortress

Vice Media files for bankruptcy to enable sale to lenders including Soros and Fortress

Vice Media offices bear the Vice logo in Venice, California.

Mario Tama | Getty Images

Once a darling of digital media, Vice Media Group filed for bankruptcy protection Monday after years of financial troubles.

A consortium of Vice lenders that includes Fortress Investment, Soros Fund Management and Monroe Capital would like to acquire the company after filing the application.

The digital media pioneer, once worth $5.7 billion and known for sites like Vice and Motherboard, had restructured its global news business and cut jobs in recent months.

The group, which plans to buy the company, will provide $225 million in the form of a loan offer for most of Vice Media’s assets, the company announced Monday, along with significant liabilities.

Vice is one of several digital media and technology companies forced to restructure this year amid a sluggish economy and a weak advertising market. Buzzfeed closed its news department last month and announced significant layoffs.

Founded in Canada in 1994 as a fringe magazine, Vice has expanded globally with youth-focused content and a prominent social media presence. However, it has struggled financially for several years as tech giants like Google And Meta sucked up global ad spend.

To facilitate the sale, Vice filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. If the application is approved, other parties can bid on the company. Credit offers allow creditors to exchange secured debt for company assets instead of paying cash.

The consortium’s offer includes a $20 million cash commitment to allow Vice to continue operating throughout the sale process. It is expected to be completed 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 units and Vice TV’s joint venture with A&E are not part of the post-chapter filing 11 are.

Deputy co-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 owners, a simplified capital structure and the ability to operate without the legacy liabilities that have weighed on our business,” they added.