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Vice Media goes bankrupt after laying off staff: report


American-Canadian digital media and broadcasting company Vice is preparing to file for bankruptcy, the New York Times reports, citing two people with knowledge of its activities.

According to the NYT report, the media company has received interest from five companies and could consider a sale to avoid bankruptcy. The report further added that in the event of a bankruptcy, which could happen in the coming weeks, Vice’s creditor Fortress Investment Group could eventually take control of the company.

This bankruptcy news comes just days after the renowned TV and online video outlet laid off staff and canceled its flagship program Vice News Tonight. Last week, Vice Media said it will cancel the hit TV show “Vice News Tonight” as part of a broader restructuring that will result in job cuts in the digital media company’s global news business, ending years of financial hardship and the departure of top managers.

Vice, which operates a cable channel of the same name and creates documentaries and other video content for its own outlets and others, was once valued at $5.7 billion. Investors included Walt Disney Co. and Fox Corp., though their net worth may be worthless now, according to the Times. The largest debtor is Fortress Investment Group, according to the newspaper.

This potential bankruptcy also comes as several other media and technology companies have had to downsize in recent months due to a tough economy and a weak advertising market.

Earlier this month, BuzzFeed Inc said it would close its news division, which gained notoriety for its irreverent and probing reporting, but ultimately succumbed to the challenges of its digital-first business model.

Joanna Swanson

Joanna Swanson is Europe correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Brussels covering politics, culture, business, climate change, society, economies and inclusive tech. With specific focus in breaking news, she has covered some of the world's most significant stories.