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

Vice Media offices display the Vice logo in Venice, California.
Mario Tama | Getty Images

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

A consortium of Vice’s lenders which includes Fortress Investment, Soros Fund Management and Monroe Capital is looking to acquire the company following the filing.

The digital media trailblazer, once valued at $5.7 billion and known for sites including Vice and Motherboard, had been restructuring and cutting jobs across its global news business over recent months.

The group set to buy the company will provide $225 million in the form of a credit bid for most of Vice Media’s assets, the company announced on Monday, along with significant liabilities.

Vice is one of several digital media and technology firms forced to restructure this year amid a sluggish economy and weak advertising market. Buzzfeed last month shuttered its news division and announced substantial layoffs.

Launched in Canada in 1994 as a fringe magazine, Vice expanded around the world with youth-focused content and a prominent social media presence. It endured several years of financial troubles, however, as tech giants such as Google and Meta vacuumed up 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 bid for the company. Credit bids enable creditors to swap secured debt for company assets rather than pay cash.

The consortium’s bid includes a commitment of $20 million in cash to enable Vice’s operations to continue throughout the sale process. It is expected to conclude 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 i-D, 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.

Vice 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 ownership, a simplified capital structure and the ability to operate without the legacy liabilities that have been burdening our business,” they added.