Vice Media Nearing Deal to Be Acquired by Fortress, Soros Fund Management for $400 Million (Report)

Vice Media is approaching a deal to be acquired by Fortress Investment Group and Soros Fund Management for $400 million, an 11th-hour rescue effort that would keep the lights on but still be massive drop from its $5.7 billion valuation of 2017, according to a Friday report in the Wall Street Journal.

The journal cited people familiar with the matter who it did not name. Vice did not immediately respond Friday to a request for comment. The New York Times reported earlier this week that Vice was barreling toward bankruptcy and that as many as five companies were interested.

The purchase as proposed includes debut and would wipe out “nearly every Vice stockholder,” The Journal said Friday. That includes private-equity firm TPG Group, Sixth Street Partners and James Murdoch, but not former corporate backers like 21st Century Fox and Disney, who at one point considered acquiring Vice for more than $3 billion but has since divested from the edgy digital-media company.

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Vice is preparing for a court-supervised sales under Chapter 11 that could be filed as soon as next week. The WSJ said “another buyer could emerge and outbid Vice’s lenders for control in bankruptcy court, but Fortress is in prime position to take control of the company, which has struggled to find a buyer over a nearly year-long sale process.”

The Journal said at one point this year, California-based GoDigital Media Group and business accelerator Group Black each separately bid roughly $400 million for Vice, but couldn’t close a sale. In the proposed Fortress and Soros deal, co-founder and executive chairman Shane Smith, as well as much of top management, would be retained.

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