Soros fund in buyout of Vice media
The already vast influence of George Soros's billions will get a steroid infusion as his hedge fund, Soros Fund Management, joins in buying Vice Media Group out of bankruptcy for a reported $400 million. The Wall Street Journal reports (paywalled):
Vice Media is nearing a deal for senior lenders including Fortress Investment Group and Soros Fund Management to acquire the troubled media company out of bankruptcy at a valuation of around $400 million, according to people familiar with the matter.
Nearly every Vice stockholder — including backers such as private-equity firm TPG Group, Sixth Street Partners and media mogul James Murdoch — would be wiped out under the proposed reorganization, the people familiar with the matter said. Outstanding debts held by TPG and Sixth Street would also be impaired as part of the plan, the people said. The Murdoch family is a major shareholder in Journal parent News Corp.
The planned sale of the company to its lenders would value Vice at around $400 million including debt, the people said, a steep drop from its peak valuation of $5.7 billion in 2017. The final purchase price could also change as part of negotiations between the company and the lender group, the people said.
The previous investors and lenders to Vice taking a severe haircut include Murdoch interests, as well as Soros's hedge fund Fortress, who are nevertheless planning on pouring more money into the venture.
The acquisition is not 100% certain, as Vice has filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and the court must supervise any sale. It is not clear if another bidder would emerge. But if the Soros-affiliated bid succeeds, expect Vice to become even more biased to the left.
The decline in the perceived value of Vice has to do with its own failures, but it also reflects the tough times for every internet publication, including American Thinker:
Vice's planned bankruptcy is emblematic of the tough times new media companies that raised money at sky-high valuations have had as they tried to navigate a difficult advertising environment where most ad dollars go to Meta Platforms' Facebook and Alphabet's Google.
YouTube screen grab (cropped).
In its coverage of the proposed sale, Variety provides a chart that was stunning to me. Based on Comscore data, it charts the unique visitors to various digital media properties:
The chart doesn't specify the term during which the unique visitors are tabulated, but based on our own data, it has to be daily unique visitors. And, shockingly, we rank up at the top of the chart, right there with media properties that have attracted many millions of dollars in venture capital. These are unthinkable sums by several orders of magnitude; we are, frankly, starved for resources and reliant on our readers for survival on a month-to-month basis.
The fact that big-money hedge funds are still willing to offer mid-nine-figures for Vice makes no sense to me, even as investors write down billions of dollars thrown at the left-wing outlets. I guess they are buying something other than financial returns.