21st Century Fox Acquires 5 Percent Stake in Vice Media
21st Century Fox has acquired a 5 percent stake in Vice Media for $70 million, people familiar with the deal confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter on Friday.
The deal values Vice Media at $1.4 billion. The Financial Times first reported the news.
Vice, which began as a print magazine, has branched out into investigative journalism and forged its brand as an edgy, digital news outlet targeting a younger demographic. The company partnered with HBO for Vice, a newsmagazine series that was recently picked up for a second season.
News Corp actually closed the purchase of Vice just prior to the company splitting into two entities: News Corp for print assets and 21st Century Fox for entertainment assets. Vice will be housed in the latter.
"If people are valuing us at a billion dollars, then fine. We're not selling, though," founder Shane Smith told THR in April. Smith added at the time: "Vice started from nothing, and it became this. Could a big conglomerate have invented it and foisted it on the public? Probably not."
Nevertheless, News Corp chairman Rupert Murdoch signaled his interest in Vice in October when he tweeted:
Who's heard of VICE media? Wild, interesting effort to interest millennials who don't read or watch established media. Global success.— Rupert Murdoch (@rupertmurdoch) October 13, 2012
Although, when asked by a Twitter user at the time if he was thinking about buying Vice, Murdoch replied:
@GreenHouseSmoke No way! Last thing they need is corporate sponsorship— Rupert Murdoch (@rupertmurdoch) October 13, 2012