Woke Company Disney Invested More Than $400 Million Into Headed for Bankruptcy: Report
Vice, an appropriately named nasty online publication aimed at young adults, is preparing to file for bankruptcy, according to multiple reports Monday — a move that would evaporate hundreds of millions of dollars from one of its investors, Disney.
As the bankruptcy clouds roll in, the publication is seeking a buyer, according to The New York Times.
While planning to write off at least $400 million, Disney might have dodged a bigger bullet: It considering buying Vice in 2015 for more than $3 billion, the Times reported.
In 2016, Vice had a market value of $5.7 billion, according to Vox.
Now it might be taken over by Fortress Investment Group, its biggest debtor, and spun off at auction.
While tight-lipped about its stake in the rogue publication, Disney admitted to investors in 2019 that it expected to get no return on the money it has put into Vice, according to Vox.
Once upon a time, it would have been unthinkable that Disney, a business that represented wholesome middle-class Americana, would have entangled itself with something like Vice.
But we all know those days are long gone.
Indeed, as far back as the mid-1980s, Disney shed its family image by establishing Touchstone Pictures to allow it to produce R-rated movies without casting a shadow on the pristine Disney name.
Now the brand has sunk to such moral lows that its having put hundreds of millions of dollars into something like Vice raises no eyebrows.
Begun in Montreal more than 20 years ago, Vice grew to be a mini-media conglomerate, boasting an ad agency, a movie studio, worldwide news bureaus and an HBO show.
It became part of a bright investment flame about seven or eight years ago in the realm of digital media publishing.
But that had the staying power of a sparkler.
Digital outlet Mic, initially valued at more than $60 million, sold for below $5 million; Mashable, valued in 2016 at $250 million, sold for below $50 million the following year; and Gawker Media, along with the Onion and more, sold for below $50 million, dinging Univision for the $135 million it paid in 2016 for just Gawker, according to Vox.
Having recently closed its global reporting service while continuing to lose money and suffer from turnover in management and other employees, Vice Media is attempting to put on a happy face, saying in a statement Monday that it “has been engaged in a comprehensive evaluation of strategic alternatives and planning.”
The company took a similar approach when its struggles became clear in 2019.
“Vice will always be there with a megaphone for the more than half the people on this planet under the age of 30 who crave independent world-class content,” the company said at the time, according to Vox.
Now that is very much in doubt — and there are 400 million reasons Disney isn’t happy about it.
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