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Vice Media has employed monetary advisors to hunt a purchaser, might promote itself in items, sources say

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Shane Smith, co-founder of Vice.

CNBC

Vice Media, the digital media firm as soon as valued at $5.7 billion, has employed bankers to hunt a sale, in accordance with folks conversant in the matter.

Several consumers have expressed preliminary curiosity in buying Vice outright, folks conversant in the matter mentioned. While discovering a single purchaser can be an easier answer for Vice, given potential points round valuation and the corporate’s excellent debt, Vice can be exploring choices to promote the corporate in components, the folks mentioned.

The Information reported Friday Vice is purchasing its content material studio enterprise and named PJT Partners and LionTree as banks serving to the corporate with that transaction.

Vice’s most fascinating property are more likely to be its content material studio and its inventive promoting company, Virtue, mentioned the folks. The studio enterprise consists of Pulse Films, which Vice introduced in March it had acquired after beforehand solely proudly owning a controlling stake. Pulse has made a variety of common music documentaries, together with Beyonce’s “Lemonade” and the “Beastie Boys Story.” The documentary movie market is especially scorching proper now for gross sales and consolidation, one of many folks mentioned.

Vice tried to go public through particular function acquisition firm final yr, reaching an settlement with 7GC & Co Holdings. Plans to go public stalled after the market cooled and traders weren’t bought on Vice’s prospects as a standalone public firm, CNBC reported final yr.

Valuation issues

Vice was an early darling of the digital media business, peaking in 2017 with a $450 million funding from non-public fairness agency TPG that valued the corporate at practically $6 billion. Vice focused a valuation of about $3 billion together with debt when it tried to go public final yr. If Vice agrees to a deal to promote the complete firm, it is more likely to garner a value considerably decrease than that, two of the folks mentioned. The Wall Street Journal reported final yr Vice has estimated it should hit $1 billion in income by the tip of 2023.

Vice is contemplating a sale because it seeks liquidity for traders and to assist pay again about $1 billion in debt. Disney already wrote off its $400 million funding in 2019 with the expectation will probably be nugatory.

Discussions with potential consumers are ongoing, the folks mentioned. No deal is assured or imminent, they mentioned. TPG is not serious about buying all of Vice and as a substitute is trying to monetize a few of its funding, one of many folks mentioned.

“The market is very active in the studio space right now and we have built a scaled, global world-class studio business that’s generating inquiries – when there’s that kind of interest, we have to consider it for our investors,” mentioned a Vice spokesperson. “Beyond that there’s nothing to comment on.”

A TPG spokesperson declined to remark.

Vice additionally owns a information web site and different digital media property, together with Refinery29, which it acquired in 2019 for $400 million. Digital media corporations resembling BuzzFeed and Vox Media have consolidated property in recent times and might be potential consumers for these property, one of many folks mentioned.

WATCH: Vice Media CEO Nancy Dubac speaks to the way forward for the corporate

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