A&E Networks is buying a 10% stake in Vice Media for $250 million, the Hollywood Reporter has confirmed. The deal values Vice at $2.5 billion:
The investment, which values Vice at a hefty $2.5 billion, comes on the heels of ended negotiations with Time Warner, which was considering merging Vice with its HLN. TW has also held discussions with The Blaze, a media entity owned by Glenn Beck.
Vice CEO Shane Smith, who co-founded the company 20 years ago, has long wanted to expand into traditional TV. Vice’s assets include a magazine, website, record label and film production company.
The $2.5 billion valuation is a sharp increase in just one year. 21st Century Fox valued it at $1.4 billion when it bought a 5% stake in 2013. In this 2012 Canadian Business interview the figure was $1 billion. Smith, who co-founded Vice Media in Montreal, recently appeared in the Canadian Business Power 50 and appears on the current issue’s cover. From that interview:
The proud Ottawa punk rocker who built his empire by plying anti-establishment fodder is being wined and dined by the world’s media elite because they’re desperate to get a piece, any piece, of his preternatural ability to identify and profitably exploit the interests of Millennials.
Last summer, when Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox bought a 5% stake of Vice, the company’s value was pegged at $1.4 billion. Less than a year later, it’s closing in on $2.2 billion, if reports from buyout talks with Fox and Time Warner are to be believed. Other rumours abound; some say Viacom is keen; others suggest—intriguingly—that Disney might have been interested. Others still think an IPO is imminent.