James Murdoch Buys Stake in Vice Media (Report)

The size of Murdoch’s investment is unknown, but sources told the Financial Times that it was small

Last Updated: October 10, 2019 @ 3:07 PM

James Murdoch’s new holding company Lupa Systems has acquired a minority investment in Vice Media, according to a report from the Financial Times on Thursday.

The size of Murdoch’s investment is unknown, but sources told the FT that it was small. The younger son of Rupert Murdoch has been on the board of the millennial-centric news and entertainment company for several years.

Lupa Systems declined to comment and representatives for Vice did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.

Murdoch started Lupa Systems earlier this year as an investment vehicle to build a portfolio of media companies. Lupa Systems was made possible by the $2 billion he received in the $71.3 billion sale of the Murdoch family’s film and TV Fox assets to Disney.

The investment comes after Vice Media agreed last week to acquire female-driven lifestyle and entertainment media company Refinery 29.

As of late, Vice has been bombarded with questions about its financial stability, culture, operations and overall future. The company laid off roughly 10% of its staff in February, cuts that came as it was grappling with a culture of sexual misconduct that resulted in multiple departures of some of its top leaders. In recent months, Vice has lost production and content deals with HBO that were valued at more than $50 million annually, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Vice still has a production deal with Hulu, and last week struck a deal with Showtime to revive its “Vice” docuseries after it was canceled by HBO.

The hope is that the acquisition of the 14-year-old Refinery 29 will bolster Vice’s digital business, and it’s relying on Refinery 29’s original programming, experiential, e-commerce and burgeoning creative agency divisions to introduce additional revenue  streams into the company.

Vice lost more than $100 million in 2017 and that it was on track to lose more than $50 million in 2018, with revenue between $600 million and $650 million, the Wall Street Journal reported last year.

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