Vice Media, the youth-focused digital media company, has filed for bankruptcy protection in the US as it looks to sell off its assets to a consortium of Vice founder Shane Smith and private equity firm TPG.
The filing, in the US Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan, comes after months of speculation about the company’s financial health. Vice had been in talks with potential buyers for months, but had been unable to secure a deal that would keep the company afloat.
Vice has reportedly been hit hard by the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic, which has caused advertising revenue to dry up. It had also been struggling with ballooning costs associated with its global expansion and a pivot to video.
The sale will involve Vice shedding many of its assets, including its cable channel Viceland, its television production arm, and its international operations. It is expected to be completed by the end of the summer.
As part of the sale, Smith will remain as chairman and will be joined on the board by TPG’s co-founder Jim Coulter.
Vice has been a major player in digital media since its founding in 1994, producing content for a young audience on a variety of topics including music, culture and politics.