Vice Media Files for Bankruptcy: What it Means for the Future of Digital Media

Vice Media, the once-dominant digital media brand known for its edgy and provocative storytelling, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in New York. The company, co-founded by Shane Smith in Montreal nearly 30 years ago, has been struggling with its finances for several years, compounded by the brutal environment for media and technology companies facing a weak advertising market. Vice Media has listed assets and liabilities in the range of $500 million to $1 billion. The company’s lenders, Fortress Investment Group, Soros Fund Management, and Monroe Capital, have agreed to purchase the company for $225 million.[0] The sale is expected to be completed in the next two to three months.[1] 


The five primary entities of Vice Media Group include, Vice Studios for film and TV production, Vice TV network, Vice News, and the creative agency Virtue.[2] In addition, the company has obtained Refinery29, a media and entertainment brand that concentrates on women, in 2019. They also possess Pulse Films, which is located in London, and i-D, a style publication that covers fashion, culture, and design in both digital and print format.[2] Vice, despite having a high historical worth and support from entities such as TPG and Disney, faced financial struggles and had to resort to multiple layoffs in recent times.[3] At the end of the previous month, over 100 employees were let go by the organization as it ended its television news show Vice News Tonight and merged Vice World News with Vice News.

The bankruptcy filing of Vice Media is a milestone for the digital media arena, with Vice becoming the latest in a long line of media conglomerates facing economic troubles. In February, Vice CEO Nancy Dubuc left the company after a five-year run succeeding co-founder Shane Smith.[2] The range of $500 million to $1 billion was indicated in the company’s filing for its assets and liabilities. 


The bankruptcy also marks the end of an era for the fast-rising digital media upstarts that once commanded rich valuations as they courted millennial audiences.[4] Vice was among this generation of digital media ventures that once threatened to supplant legacy media companies with the right recipe for attracting millennial audiences.[5] According to The New York Times, Vice faced challenges in generating profits from its readers, a common hurdle for modern media organizations, as most of the digital advertising revenue was dominated by major technology platforms.[6] 


The sale of the company to a consortium of lenders that includes Fortress Investment Group, Soros Fund Management and Monroe Capital for $225m in the form of a credit bid for its assets as well as assuming Vice’s “significant liabilities” is expected to strengthen the company and position Vice for long-term growth, safeguarding the kind of authentic journalism and content creation that makes Vice such a trusted brand for young people and such a valued partner to brands, agencies and platforms, Vice’s Co-CEOs Bruce Dixon and Hozefa Lokhandwala said in a statement.[7] 


Vice Media has been evaluating its future since plans to float using a special purpose acquisition vehicle (Spac) collapsed two years ago.[8] As part of a wider restructuring that would lead to job cuts in the digital media company’s global news business, Vice News Tonight, a popular TV program, was announced to be cancelled in April. BuzzFeed announced last month that it would be closing its news division, which was known for its bold and inquisitive reporting, but ultimately could not overcome the obstacles presented by its digital-first business strategy.[5] 


The bankruptcy of Vice Media marks a pivotal moment for the digital media arena, as the economic struggles of media conglomerates continue in the weak advertising market.[9] It is hoped that the sale of the company will position Vice for long-term growth, safeguarding the authenticity of its journalism and content creation.[10]

0. “After a 29-year run, Vice files for bankruptcy” TechCrunch, 15 May. 2023,

1. “Vice Media Files For Bankruptcy” HuffPost, 15 May. 2023,

2. “George Soros fund nears $400M deal to buy Vice Media out of bankruptcy: report” New York Post , 8 May. 2023,

3. “Who will own Vice Media after its bankruptcy filing” Quartz, 12 May. 2023,

4. “Vice Media Bankruptcy: CNN, HBO, A&E Networks Among Creditors List” Hollywood Reporter, 15 May. 2023,

5. “Vice Media files for Chapter 11 to facilitate sale to Soros, consortium” The Jerusalem Post, 15 May. 2023,

6. “Vice Media files for bankruptcy” The Week, 15 May. 2023,

7. “Vice Media Is Bankrupt and Will Soon Sell for Cheap” New York Magazine, 15 May. 2023,

8. “Vice Media, Envision Healthcare, Monitronics among 7 US firms filing for bankruptcy in past 24 hours | Mint” Mint, 15 May. 2023,

9. “Vice Media files for bankruptcy to enable sale to lenders including Soros and Fortress” CNBC, 15 May. 2023,

10. “Vice Media bankruptcy: Digital media company makes way for sale” USA TODAY, 15 May. 2023,