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Fox invests in Vice

Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox has bought a 5% stake in multimedia firm Vice Media, in a deal that values the youth-skewed company at US$1.4bn.

News Corp-owned 21st Century Fox has invested US$70m (£45m) in the maverick independent media organisation, which runs a range of online channels and produces its own TV shows.

Vice is also launching new digital channels in the fall, following the arrival of Thump, an electronic dance music net, in April.

Last October, Mudoch tweeted: “Who’s heard of Vice Media? Wild, interesting effort to interest millennials who don’t read or watch established media. Global success.”

The new investment means Vice’s co-founders will retain control of the firm, with a variety of minority shareholders sharing a combined stake of around 25%.

Vice began life as a music magazine but moved into online content, and recently made headlines for its self-titled news programme produced for HBO, which saw basketball star Dennis Rodman travel to North Korea.

The 12-episode show, fronted by Vice co-founder Shane Smith, was also picked up by Foxtel channel Fox8 in Australia and has been renewed by HBO for a second season. It also featured episodes on the Nigerian oil industry and political assassinations in the Philippines.

“I want us to be the next MTV, ESPN and CNN rolled into one – and everyone always rolls their eyes,” Smith told the Financial Times.

“The reality is that MTV was bought by Viacom and CNN went to Time Warner. We have set ourselves up to build a global platform but we have maintained control.”

The investment from 21st Century Fox comes after News Corp separated its publishing and television arms earlier this year.

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