Vice Media preparing to file for bankruptcy - NYT

3 weeks ago 36

[1/2] Co-Founders of VICE Shane Smith (L) and Suroosh Alvi (R) pose as they arrive for the 20th Annual Webby Awards in Manhattan, New York, U.S., May 16, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar

May 1 (Reuters) - Vice Media Group, the company behind popular media websites such as Vice and Motherboard, is preparing to file for bankruptcy, the New York Times reported on Monday, citing people with knowledge of its operations.

The media firm has received interest from five companies and might consider a sale to avoid bankruptcy, the NYT report said, adding that in the event of a bankruptcy, which could happen in the coming weeks, Vice's debtholder Fortress Investment Group could end up controlling the company.

"Vice Media Group has been engaged in a comprehensive evaluation of strategic alternatives and planning. The company, its board and stakeholders continue to be focused on finding the best path for the company," the company spokesperson told Reuters in an emailed statement.

Its potential bankruptcy comes as several other media and technology firms have had to downsize in recent months due to a challenging economy and a weak advertising market.

Earlier this month, BuzzFeed Inc (BZFD.O) said it would shutter its news division, which gained renown for its irreverent and probing coverage, but ultimately succumbed to the challenges of its digital-first business model.

Last week, Vice Media said it will cancel popular TV program "Vice News Tonight" as part of a broader restructuring that will result in job cuts across the digital media firm's global news business, capping years of financial difficulties and top-executive departures.

Vice Media was among a group of fast-rising digital media ventures that once commanded rich valuations, as they courted millennial audiences. It rose to prominence alongside its provocative co-founder, Shane Smith, who built his media empire from a single Canadian magazine.

Reporting by Baranjot Kaur in Bengaluru

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