Time Warner in Talks for Stake in Vice Media (Report)

4:22 PM PST 06/09/2014 by Paul Bond
AP Images
Shane Smith

A deal could value Vice at $2.2 billion, up from $1.4 billion just a year ago.

Time Warner is in discussions to take an equity interest in Vice Media that would put the value of the largely digital news and entertainment company at $2.2 billion, according to published reports.

Sky News reported Monday that one potential deal involves merging HLN with Vice, with Time Warner receiving roughly half of the enlarged company.

Vice was founded by Shane Smith in 1994 as an irreverent music magazine and has since morphed into a popular purveyor of both quirky and more mainstream entertainment and information.

Vice consists of a network of channels on YouTube, an ad agency, record label and a television show best known for taking former basketball star Dennis Rodman to North Korea for a bizarre bit of widely criticized, unofficial diplomacy.

A year ago, Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox took a 5 percent stake in Vice for a price that valued the company at $1.4 billion.

Sky News says that if a deal is finalized Smith, the rest of Vice's management would maintain operational control.

A year ago, Sky News points out, Smith told a newspaper that his goal for Vice was to be "the next MTV, ESPN and CNN rolled into one." Smith also referred to Vice as "the Time Warner of the street."

Vice and Time Warner declined to comment.

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