Vice Media Inc. got a $450 million investment from private equity firm TPG, valuing the irreverent chronicler of youth culture at $5.7 billion.
The funding will help Vice produce more video through a new in-house studio, and create online subscription services to sell those videos to consumers, Chief Executive Officer Shane Smith said in a statement. The company continues to consider an initial public offering, Smith said in an interview on CNBC.
Vice already produces a slew of reality and news programs for its cable network Viceland, such as series about the culture of marijuana, gay and lesbian issues and food. Vice also publishes video for services like YouTube and Snapchat along with a daily news show for HBO. The company has more recently begun producing scripted programming, and will use this new money to do more.
Vice has already raised money from some of the largest media companies in the world. Walt Disney Co. and 21st Century Fox Inc. both own stakes in Vice, which was valued at $4 billion at the time of Disney’s latest investment. Vice’s value has gained on the strong reception to its weekly news magazine for HBO, an award-winning documentary about the Islamic State terrorist group and the growing viewership for its videos online.
Smith talked openly about selling the company last year, and mentioned Disney as a potential buyer. Yet Disney didn’t participate in this latest fundraising round, and, with the latest valuation, Vice would now be more expensive than two of Disney’s biggest acquisitions — Marvel Entertainment and Lucasfilm — were at the time.
Those two companies own a fertile library of intellectual property, be it comic books or “Star Wars.” Vice, producer of “Balls Deep” and “Bong Appetit,” is now trying to amass the equivalent.
“This will allow us to build up the largest millennial video library in the world — enabling Vice to widen our offering to include news, food, music, fashion, art, travel, gaming, lifestyle, scripted and feature films,” Smith said in a statement.
TPG made the investment using capital from its flagship buyout fund, for which it finished raising $10.5 billion in 2016, according to a person with knowledge of the matter. David Trujillo, who spearheaded TPG’s investments in ride-sharing company Uber Technologies Inc. and talent agency Creative Artists Agency LLC, led the Vice transaction.