Vice Media declares Fortress winner in bankruptcy sale

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A general view of atmosphere at the VICE Kills TX Music Showcase during the 2013 SXSW Music, Film + Interactive Festival at Viceland on March 16, 2013 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Hutton Supancic/Getty Images for SXSW)

Hutton Supancic | Getty Images

Vice Media has declared Fortress Investment Group’s stalking horse bid of $225 million the winning offer for the company as it emerges from bankruptcy.

Vice received multiple bids for the company, but none of them “rose to the level of being deemed a superior bid,” according to an internal memo obtained by CNBC.

Closely held GoDigital submitted one of the bids at a $300 million valuation, according to a person familiar with the matter. Fortress wanted more cash in the offer and had concerns about GoDigital’s funding, according to two people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be speak publicly because the bidding details are private.

“Our offer was significantly more than the stalking horse bid by the sellers,” GoDigital said in a statement. “The sellers chose to turn down this opportunity even though it was a bid higher than their own.”

GoDigital chief strategy officer Craig Greiwe added in a statement to CNBC that the company “remains ready to acquire Vice on reasonable terms and had demonstrated the financial ability to do so as part of this process.”

Fortress led a group of creditors, including Soros Fund Management and Monroe Capital, that took over Vice out of bankruptcy leading up to a potential auction for the company this week. That auction won’t take place without outstanding credible bids.

Vice will present the sale to bankruptcy court on Friday and expects the acquisition to close then, the company said in the memo.

The sale closes a chapter for the digital media company that was valued at $5.7 billion in 2017. Vice owns a series of assets including Vice News, Vice Studios, Refinery29 and an ad agency called Virtue.

Spokespeople for Vice and Fortress declined to comment.

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