Vice Media Raises $85 Million as Co-Founder Shane Smith Abandons SPAC Talks and Voting Control (Report)

Struggling media company had been in talks to go public via a blank-check company funded by 7GC & Co.

Vice co-founder Shane Smith and CEO Nancy Dubuc
Vice co-founder Shane Smith and CEO Nancy Dubuc in 2019 (Photo by Craig Barritt/Getty Images for VICE Media)

Vice Media has ended talks to go public with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) for the time being and raised $85 million from existing investors, according to a Tuesday report in The Information.

As part of the new deal, co-founder Shane Smith will give up his voting control, the outlet reported.

The goal now is to get Vice Media profitable, the report said. The company was hoping to raise money by going public through a merger with a SPAC funded by 7GC & Co., but existing investors like James Murdoch’s Lupa Systems and Sixth Street Partners have agreed to invest in the company to help it achieve profitability now.

A representative for Vice Media did not immediately return a request for comment.

The valuation of the company couldn’t be determined, but reports earlier this year indicated a SPAC offered Vice about $2.5 billion — or about 56% less than its peak valuation of $5.7 billion back in 2017.

The news comes less than a week after Vice Media engaged in another round of layoffs, letting go of fewer than 20 people who worked in the company’s editorial division.

A memo to global staff from chief digital officer Cory Haik, reviewed by TheWrap, heralded the “growth period” of the last two years and focused on the day’s events as a “global editorial alignment.” She praised, among other things, Vice’s YouTube account reaching 14 million subscribers and breaking its all-time monthly view record in May, the 20% increase in American traffic to i-D and traffic to Refinery29’s “Unbothered,” a digital community for Black women, rising by over 40% year over year.

After announcing a swatch of promotions, she added, “As part of this continued global alignment we’ve unfortunately had to say goodbye to some of our friends and colleagues today. We wish them well and thank them for their dedicated service over the years.”

Last month, the New York Times reported that Vice would be “putting a greater emphasis on videos and other forms of visual storytelling,” in a move that was described as yet another pivot to video.


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