Vice’s Bankruptcy Filing Was Inevitable – and Still Managed to Surprise | Analysis

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The digital media group lost money for years, according to filings, and now plans to sell itself for a fraction of its former worth

A Vice Media office in Los Angeles in 2019.
A Vice Media office in Los Angeles in 2019. (Getty Images)

Vice was the quintessential digital media business, if by “quintessential digital media business” you mean an elaborate project that involved taking money from investors, paying journalists and leaving everyone poorer, as the media group’s bankruptcy filings revealed.

The company owes a lot of people money, starting with a consortium led by Fortress Investment Group, which plans to buy Vice after it goes through a prepackaged bankruptcy process. Vice owes the Fortress group approximately $475 million. The consortium has agreed to pay another $225 million for Vice, whose brands include Vice News, Refinery29, the Virtue advertising studio and i-D magazine.

Investors and other shareholders, who gave Vice $1.6