Advanced Television

WPP backs Vice network

April 5, 2011

Vice is preparing to announce investment partnerships with Tom Freston, MTV’s co-founder; WPP, the giant media conglomerate; and the Raine Group, a boutique investment firm. To help it expand, Vice has also enlisted William Morris Endeavor Entertainment and its chief executive, Ari Emanuel, to represent the company.

“We’ve kind of been on the periphery for a long time,” said Shane Smith, one of Vice’s founders. “We said it’s time to turn on the jets. We’d reached the ceiling of what we can do on our own.”

To undertake the kind of growth that Vice would like — adding to its news and sports divisions and building large-scale operations in emerging markets like China, India and Brazil — it needed more capital than it was generating on its own. The company has not disclosed the exact size of the investment from its new partners but has put the sum in the high eight figures.

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