Vice Media files for bankruptcy weeks after announcing layoffs

May 15 2023, 3:14 pm

Vice Media Group has filed for bankruptcy after several tumultuous years of reductions and layoffs.

According to court documents, Vice filed on Monday. Its liabilities fall in the same range as its assets — between US$500,000,001 and US$1 billion.

In April, Vice sent a memo to employees announcing that it was reducing its global news team to focus on digital video, documentaries, and series development.

According to US Courts, this is a Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which “generally provides for reorganization, usually involving a corporation or partnership.”

“A Chapter 11 debtor usually proposes a plan of reorganization to keep its business alive and pay creditors over time. People in business or individuals can also seek relief in chapter 11,” reads the description.

Vice Media originated from Montreal-based Vice magazine, created by journalists Suroosh Alvi, Gavin McInnes, and Shane Smith. Smith also made Vice News Tonight, one of Vice’s most well-received flagship series. Its last broadcast will happen on May 25.

“We are NOT exiting the news business, but we are changing the shape of VICE News to position the whole Company for long-term opportunities and improve how we deliver important, ground-breaking journalism well into the future,” Vice’s current co-CEOs Bruce Dixon and Hozefa Lokhandwala said in a staff email sent in April.

“In response to the current market conditions and business realities facing VMG and the broader news and media industry, we are moving forward on some painful but necessary reductions, primarily across our News business,” the company’s leadership wrote.

Vice isn’t the only once-thriving media organization to face unmanageable business troubles.

On April 20, BuzzFeed Inc. also said it was reducing its workforce by “approximately 15%” and cutting roles across its business, content, tech, and admin teams. Acquired by BuzzFeed in 2020, Huffington Post is now BuzzFeed’s exclusive news brand as BuzzFeed News has officially shut down.

In a memo to staff, BuzzFeed CEO and co-founder Jonah Peretti said the company can “no longer continue to fund BuzzFeed News as a standalone organization.” In comparison, Huffington Post is “profitable, with a loyal direct front page audience.”

The media giant also proposed headcount reductions across some international markets. As a result of the news, BuzzFeed’s chief revenue officer, Edgar Hernandez, and chief of operations, Christian Baesler, resigned.

Daily Hive has contacted Vice to ask if the US-based bankruptcy filing will affect Canadian operations. We will update this story when Vice responds.

Imaan SheikhImaan Sheikh

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