Vice is negotiating deals with three potential suitors, Time Warner, 21st Century Fox and, perhaps most curiously, Disney, The New York Times reports.
Despite only producing 11 hours of television content, the company is vying for its own TV network, as well as “a movie deal and a lot of money for its founders and investors.”
Here are a few of the most interesting proposals floated to the company in various media reports.
1. Time Warner invests in Vice, and Vice takes over HLN
Time Warner taking a large minority stake in Vice, which values itself at $2.5 billion, has been the longest-running rumor, as it would give Vice CEO Shane Smith the 24-hour cable channel he covets.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Time Warner would reportedly “infuse Vice’s edgy brand of documentaries and newsgathering into HLN, potentially gaining a younger audience and improving its ratings, the people said.” Time Warner’s HBO runs Vice’s Emmy nominated doc show, so there is already a relationship.
2.Vice programs blocks of time on a few Fox networks.
21st Century Fox has already purchased 5 percent of the media company, but Rupert Murdoch is looking to potentially get more.
The New York Times report observed that Vice does not match up well with the conservative Fox News, which makes such a collaboration suspect. Vice co-founder and frequent Fox News guest Gavin McInnes, slammed the company in February, saying it was “taken over by the head of marketing (Shane Smith) that it’s focused on marketing and it’s low on substance.” McInnes exited the company six years ago.
More likely, Vice documentary programming could begin appearing on Fox prime-time a la Neil deGrasse Tyson’s “Cosmos.”
3. Disney makes significant investment
The New York Times report was unclear about what Disney wanted to do with the Brooklyn company but expanding its digital media assets for a younger audience seems to be the most likely outcome. It already owns Maker Studios, which it bought for $500 million, so it is already working to amp up its male-focused digital properties.
4. Vice ends up making a deal with a media company in India or Latin America
Smith told TheWrap earlier this month that said his company was in talks not only with American companies, but international ones.
He expressed interest in deals with media companies located in India as well as other far off locales.
“We’re not just interested in TV here in America,” he said. “We’re interested in Europe and Latin America.”
“Am I intererested in television networks that have almost full penetration into the market? Yes,” Smith told TheWrap.