Digital media and broadcasting company Vice Media Group is preparing to file for bankruptcy and is seeking a buyer to avoid that, according to the New York Times. The filing could come in the coming weeks, people familiar with the matter said, as even though more than five companies have expressed interest in acquiring Vice Media, the chances of that are growing increasingly slim.
In the event of a bankruptcy, Vice’s largest debtholder, Fortress Investment Group, could end up controlling the company, the New York Times said. Vice would continue operating normally and run an auction to sell the company over a 45-day period, with Fortress emerging as the most likely acquirer.
“Vice Media Group has been engaged in a comprehensive evaluation of strategic alternatives and planning,” Vice said in a statement. “The company, its board and stakeholders continue to be focused on finding the best path for the company,” it added.
Vice Media was worth as much as US$5.7 billion in 2017 after a fresh funding round, as well as investments from Disney and Fox. The company began as a magazine and has grown to include a movie and TV studio, ad agency, a HBO show, and an alternative news organization. At one point, during its heyday in 2015, Disney had even considered acquiring it outright for US$3 billion.