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Disney Takes $353 Million Q1 Write-Down on Vice Media

Mouse House takes big hit only four years after investing $400 million in the millennial-focused digital media company

Disney reported a write-down of $353 million on its Vice Media investment when the entertainment giant shared its first quarter financial results on Wednesday.

The Mouse House revealed the write-down midway through its earnings release, and comes only months after the company took a $157 million write-down on the Gen Z and millennial-focused media company.

Disney initially poured $400 million into Vice in 2015, valuing the company at more than $4 billion. Vice’s valuation later rose to nearly $6 billion in 2017, following a $450 million investment from private equity firm TPG.

Those halcyon days appear firmly in the past, however. Like many other outlets, Vice has struggled to adapt to changing media dynamics in recent years. The company laid off 250 employees, or about 10% of its staff, earlier this year.

The cuts came as Vice Media continued to grapple with a culture of sexual misconduct, which resulted in multiple departures of some of its top leaders. In January 2018, the company fired its chief digital officer, Mike Germano, after he was accused by multiple women of sexual misconduct in a lengthy exposé New York Times.

The same piece also reported on a $135,000 settlement between company president Andrew Creighton and another woman. After being a lengthy suspension, Creighton ultimately left the company as well in October 2018. CEO Nancy Dubuc took over after co-founder Shane Smith stepped down in March 2018, tasked with leading Vice’s turnaround and finding a path towards profitability.

Disney’s impairment charge comes a week after Vice raised $250 million from a group of investors led by 23 Capital and George Soros.