Rising from Ashes of Bankruptcy: Vice Media’s Fight for Survival


Rising from Ashes of Bankruptcy: Vice Media’s Fight for Survival

Vice Media's Battle against Bankruptcy: From Struggle to Resilience

In a move that highlights the challenging economic climate for digital media companies, Vice Media, the renowned publisher of youth-oriented online o

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In a move that highlights the challenging economic climate for digital media companies, Vice Media, the renowned publisher of youth-oriented online outlets like Vice and Motherboard, has filed for bankruptcy. As economic growth slows and the advertising market softens, Vice Media’s decision underscores the difficulties faced by digital media companies in sustaining profitability.

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A New Chapter for Vice Media

Despite the bankruptcy filing, Vice Media announced that the group of sites under its umbrella, including Munchies (a food outlet) and Refinery29 (a fashion news brand), will continue publishing. The filing is intended to facilitate the sale of Vice Media to a consortium of top lenders, led by Fortress Investment Group and Soros Fund Management. The acquisition of the company is valued at approximately $225 million, positioning Vice Media for long-term growth and success.

Bruce Dixon and Hozefa Lokhandwala, Vice Media’s co-CEOs, expressed their optimism about the sale, stating that it will provide the company with new ownership, a simplified capital structure, and the opportunity to operate without the burden of legacy liabilities. They emphasized their commitment to maintaining Vice’s authentic journalism and content creation, which have contributed to its reputation as a trusted brand among young people and a valued partner for brands, agencies, and platforms.

Impact on Vice Media’s Operations

Prior to the bankruptcy filing, Vice Media had already taken significant steps to address its financial challenges. The cancellation of its flagship TV program, “Vice News Tonight,” signified the magnitude of the cost-cutting measures and staff reductions implemented by the company. Unfortunately, Vice Media is not alone in its struggles, as other digital media organizations have also faced layoffs and closures due to declining ad revenues.

Vox Media, for instance, laid off 7% of its staff in January, while Bustle Digital Group, the parent company of media outlets like Bustle and NYLON, followed suit with an 8% reduction in its workforce a month later. Even BuzzFeed News, a prominent name in online news coverage, recently shut down.

The Journey and Challenges of Vice Media

Vice Media’s story began in 1994 in Montreal when Shane Smith, Suroosh Alvi, and Gavin McInnes established the company as an edgy print magazine. Over the years, Vice evolved into a bold online news brand and ultimately grew into a media empire focused on youth culture. The company attracted substantial investments, with Disney alone contributing over $400 million. In 2017, Vice’s valuation reached an impressive $5.7 billion.

However, Vice Media encountered financial difficulties as it struggled to translate its large readership into consistent digital ad sales. The company faced challenges in a volatile advertising market, where social media platforms dominated revenue generation. These obstacles led to Vice Media’s current financial predicament.

Vice Union’s Support

Amidst these uncertain times, Vice Union, the labor organization representing more than 320 employees at the company, affirmed its commitment to supporting its members. Regardless of the company’s ownership, the union stands strong and ready to fight tenaciously for the rights of its members.


Vice Media’s bankruptcy filing serves as a reflection of the challenging environment digital media companies face today. Despite these hurdles, Vice remains determined to overcome its financial struggles and continue delivering the authentic journalism and engaging content that have made it a trusted brand for young people. With new ownership, a simplified capital structure, and the ability to operate unburdened by legacy liabilities, Vice Media seeks to embark on a healthy and successful next chapter.


  • comment-avatar
    Paul 1 year ago

    I know things are not going well in the whole industry but it also seems that the people at VICE didn’t do a good job of getting more $ per reader. They have a lot of readers. They just didn’t find the right ways to translate those readers to money.

    • comment-avatar
      Christian 1 year ago

      You might be right but it’s also easy to point out flaws from our computers. The market is changing, ad revenue is down by a lot but yes, maybe with some other people in charge things would have been better. After all, just in 2017 (so 6 years ago) they were valued at $5.7 billion which says a lot.

      • comment-avatar
        Landon 1 year ago

        They clearly didn’t have the right mindset or people that could have found much better ways of selling ad space and making money in other ways. They didn’t change with the industry and when you’re stuck in your ways bad things will happen.

  • comment-avatar
    Annie 1 year ago

    So they will buy the company for $225 million? And they were valued at $5.7 billion just a few years ago?!