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Vice Media Gets $250 Million in Debt Funding From George Soros, Other Investors

Vice Media, looking to revitalize its flagging business, has gotten a $250 million cash infusion from an investment consortium that includes billionaire George Soros.

The company’s new debt financing was led by 23 Capital, a financing firm focused exclusively on sports, music and entertainment sectors, with participation by Soros Fund Management, Fortress Investment Group and Monroe Capital, as first reported by the Wall Street Journal Friday.

“With this capital investment, Vice’s growth plans can be accelerated, allowing us to execute our new leadership’s strategic vision for the company,” a Vice rep said in a statement.

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The once high-flying Vice has suffered a shortfall in revenue goals, and laid off about 250 employees, or 10% of its staff, earlier this year.

Vice CEO Nancy Dubuc, hired last year to lead the company’s turnaround efforts, has set a target of achieving profitability within the next fiscal year. The ex-CEO of A+E Networks restructured the company around five lines of business: digital, news, Vice Studios (film and TV production), the Viceland cable channel (a partnership with A+E), and in-house ad agency Virtue. “Having finalized the 2019 budget, our focus shifts to executing our goals and hitting our marks,” Dubuc wrote in a Feb. 1 memo to employees about the reorg.

The Brooklyn-based youth-culture company, launched 25 years ago as a punk-culture magazine in Montreal, was valued at $5.7 billion less than two years ago. Since then, its valuation has dropped: Disney disclosed a $157 million write-down on its Vice equity stake last year. Vice previously raised about $1.4 billion from investors including TPG Capital, which plowed $450 million into the company in the summer of 2017.

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