Vice Media Set To Be Acquired By Fortress Investment, Soros Fund Consortium

A group of Vice Media’s leading lenders will acquire the company out of Chapter 11 after the $225 million bid — led by Fortress Investment Group, Soros Fund Management and Monroe Capital — was deemed the most qualified.

Bids were due Tuesday, and there were multiple offers. But according to an internal email and court document filed this morning, an auction for Vice set for today was canceled. None of the other offers were deemed superior. The Fortress consortium offer was so-called stalking horse bid from early in the bankruptcy process to set a floor on an an eventual sale. Judge John Mastando III could approve the deal at a hearing set for tomorrow, and the company emere from Chapter 11 in July.

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After years of financial struggle, the iconic magazine turned youth-based digital media and news outlet, filed for bankruptcy in May in the Southern District of New York.

A ‘Notice of Designation of Successful Bidder’ filed with the court this morning said that the “Debtors, in consultation with the Consultation Parties, did not receive any Qualified Bids (other than the Stalking Horse Bid) prior to the Bid Deadline” and “that accordingly, the Auction scheduled for
Thursday, June 22, 2023, at 10:00 a.m. (prevailing Eastern Time) is hereby CANCELLED.”

“The sole Successful Bidder is the Stalking Horse Bidder” — officially called Vice Acquisition HoldCo, LLC.

LA company GoDigital, one of the bidders for Vice, put out a statement today saying its offer was “significantly more than the stalking horse bid by the sellers” and “included a concrete plan with real, renewed leadership, expertise, and investment that would have led to a profitable Vice in under 12 months.”

Brooklyn-based Vice, led by co-CEOs Bruce Dixon and Hozefa Lokhandwala, had been looking for investors or a buyer for some time but hadn’t been able to close a deal.

Shane Smith, one of three original founders, ran the business as CEO from its founding until 2018, when he was replaced by former A+E Networks boss Nancy Dubuc, who exited early this year. Jesse Angelo, who was Global President of News & Entertainment, left shortly after. In April, Vice announced that it was streamlining its news division, including layoffs and the cancelation of its signature newscast, Vice News Tonight.

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