Vice Media files for US bankruptcy protection ahead of sale

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Media company Vice has filed for bankruptcy protection in the US after bosses struggled to find a buyer for the innovative news firm.

The Chapter 11 filing at a court in New York is setting the stage for the company’s creditors to take control over the business.

It marks a fall from grace for the business, which shot to prominence in the 2010s with a form of journalism designed to attract younger audiences.

It comes just a month after BuzzFeed, another new media company which achieved great success about a decade ago, said it would close its news division and make extensive layoffs.

The Chapter 11 filing will allow Vice to continue operating as normal. Such filings are not uncommon among US companies, and in many circumstances the business can come out of bankruptcy and continue to build great success. These have included companies such as Marvel Entertainment and General Motors.

Vice said that it had an agreement with its lenders which will see them buy the company, unless a better bid comes along.

The lenders include Fortress Investment Group, Soros Fund Management and Monroe Capital. They would buy the company’s assets for about 225 million US dollars (£180 million). In 2017 the business was valued at 5.7 billion dollars (£4.5 billion).

“Vice serves a huge global audience with a unique brand of news, entertainment and lifestyle content,” said Bruce Dixon and Hozefa Lokhandwala, co-chief executives of the company.

In a joint statement, they said: “This accelerated, court-supervised, sale process will strengthen the company and position Vice for long-term growth, thereby safeguarding the kind of authentic journalism and content creation that makes Vice such a trusted brand for young people and such a valued partner to brands, agencies and platforms.

“We will have new ownership, a simplified capital structure and the ability to operate without the legacy liabilities that have been burdening our business.

“We look forward to completing the sale process in the next two to three months and charting a healthy and successful next chapter at Vice.”

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