Vice goes stream only, lines up IPO

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Vice Media has launched a free online television channel available on the Roku platform in the US this week, as it markets an IPO to refinance some of the funding taken from TPG private equity in 2017 when it was valued at $5.7 billion (€4.7bn) – it is now hoping for a value of $3 billion.

Vice executives have repositioned the company as an entertainment group and production studio and away from a ‘digital media company’ branding. Under chief executive Nancy Dubuc, the former chief executive of A&E Networks who took over from founder Shane Smith in 2018, Vice has been revisiting its business model while aiming to keep its reputation for edgy content and sway with millennials.

Dubuc has tightened costs and laid off hundreds of staff, while using $250 million in debt raised in 2019 to invest in new businesses, such as its in-house advertising agency and Vice Studios, its production arm. Vice Studios has upped output for a range of streamers and broadcasters, co-producing projects such as Netflix’s Fyre Fest documentary and more recently selling programming to Discovery Plus.

Vice’s streaming channel will be focused on unscripted programming across news, food and culture.

The IPO will take the form of purchasing a shell company that will attract investors to buy into Vice at the level of around 25 per cen at a target value of $3 billion.


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