Vice Media co-founder and former CEO Shane Smith reportedly pocketed $100 million of the $500 million the company raised in 2014, Semafor reported on Monday.
A “person with direct knowledge of the transaction” told Semafor that Smith sold more than $100 million of his own shares when A&E and Crossover Ventures invested a joint $500 million in Vice in the 2014 deal. Smith then told a friend he was now “post-economic.”
Among the lavish expenditures he’s reported to have made: A vintage Rolls Royce, a mountain in Costa Rica and $300,000 on a single dinner in Las Vegas. He also bought the $23 million Santa Monica mansion featured in the 1980s hit “Beverly Hills Cop.”
Vice and Smith declined to comment to Semafor and an inquiry from TheWrap went unanswered.
The digital media company’s board is seeking to sell all or part of the company after missing its $700 million revenue target for 2022 by $100 million and slashing jobs last year as digital media suffered.
Smith stepped down as CEO in 2018, with Nancy Dubuc, the CEO of A+E Networks, taking over the role and Smith moving to an executive chairman role. In February, Dubuc announced she was leaving as Vice Media began its sale process.
“I am proud to leave a Vice better than the one I joined,” she said in her farewell memo to Vice staffers. “Together we racked up incredible wins while tackling unprecedented macroeconomic headwinds caused by the pandemic, the war in the Ukraine, and the economy all which forced us to pivot, refocus and pivot again.”
Vice, which once threw elaborate SXSW parties featuring baby goats and A-list rappers, was not at the festival this year.