March 4, 2024

The Vice Media office displays the Vice logo in Venice, CA.

Mario Tama | Getty Images

Vice Media Group, once the darling of digital media, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Monday after years of financial struggles.

A consortium of Vice lenders, including Fortress Investment, Soros Fund Management and Monroe Capital, is seeking to acquire the company following the filing.

The digital media trailblazer once valued at $5.7 billion and known for sites such as Vice and Motherboard has been restructuring and laying off staff across its global news operations in recent months.

The company announced Monday that the consortium preparing to buy the company will offer $225 million in a credit bid to buy most of Vice Media’s assets, as well as significant liabilities.

Vice is one of several digital media and technology companies forced to restructure this year due to the downturn and weakness in the advertising market. Buzzfeed shuttered its news division last month and announced massive layoffs.

Launched in Canada as a fringe magazine in 1994, Vice has expanded globally through youth-focused content and a prominent social media presence.However, it has endured several years of financial distress as tech giants such as Google and Yuan Sucking up global ad spend.

To facilitate its sale, Vice filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the US 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 exchange secured debt for company assets, rather than paying cash.

The consortium’s bid includes a pledge of $20 million in cash to allow Vice’s operations to continue throughout the sale. The company said it expects to be completed within two to three months.

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 entities and Vice TV’s joint venture with A&E are outside the scope of the Chapter 11 filing .

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 ownership, a simplified capital structure and the ability to operate without the legacy debt that has been a drag on our business,” they added.