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Business

Vice Media restarts the sales process at a lower value




Vice Media offices display the Vice logo in Venice, California.

Mario Tama | Getty Images

Vice Media is restarting its sales process after previously interested bidders rejected the original price tag, according to people familiar with the situation.

The digital media company, which was valued at $5.7 billion in 201[ads1]7, is now likely to be priced below $1 billion, the people said. Initially, Vice was looking for a valuation between $1 billion and $1.5 billion, one of the people added. The people were not authorized to comment publicly on the matter.

A spokesperson for Vice Media declined to comment.

Vice last year hired advisers to facilitate a sale of part or all of the business, CNBC previously reported. Some of its most attractive assets are likely to be its content studio and creative advertising agency, Virtue, CNBC previously reported, but the company is trying to sell itself as a whole rather than in parts, the people said.

One of Vice’s lenders, Fortress Investment Group, is a mover in the sale process, the people said, and has agreed to wait on loan repayments. Fortress was reportedly part of a consortium of lenders in 2019 that provided $250 million in debt to Vice.

Vice has lowered its expectations in hopes of getting a deal done and securing a payout sooner rather than later, the people said.

The company had been close to a deal with Greek broadcaster Antenna Group, but those talks stalled in recent weeks, the people said. Antenne is likely to remain an interested bidder in the renewed sales process, they added.

Representatives for Antenne og Festning refused to comment.

Digital media companies have fallen from great heights in recent years as growth has stalled due to shrinking audience numbers and advertising. In particular, they have faced increasing competition for advertising dollars from technology giants such as Google. Media companies in general have faced a decline in advertising revenue as macroeconomic conditions have caused a pullback from advertisers.

Meanwhile, BuzzFeedthe only digital media company to go public, has seen its stock drop roughly 90% since it went public in 2021.

Vice peaked in 2017 with a $450 million investment from private equity firm TPG, valuing the company at the time at nearly $6 billion.

The company later targeted a valuation of around $3 billion, including debt, as it sought to go public via specialist buyout firm 7GC & Co Holdings in 2021. However, those plans also stalled after the market cooled and investors were no longer sold on Vice’s prospects. as an independent public company.

Vice ended 2022 with a slight increase in revenue, but business deteriorated amid macroeconomic headwinds, according to a person familiar with the matter. Vice missed its revenue goal by more than $100 million for 2022, The Wall Street Journal previously reported.

While the company was unprofitable last year, some of its units turned a profit, and Vice has been intermittently profitable in recent years, the person added.

WATCH: Vice Media CEO talks to CNBC after $400M acquisition of Refinery29

Vice Media restarts the sales process at a lower value



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