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A+E confirms Vice move

US cablecaster A+E Networks has agreed to buy a 10% stake in Vice Media in a deal that values the company at US$2.5bn, a Vice spokesman has confirmed to C21.

A+E, which is jointly owned by the Walt Disney Company and media group Hearst Corporation, has agreed to pay US$250m for the minority holding in the youth-skewing multimedia outfit.

Vice CEO Shane Smith told the Financial Times the arrangement would allow the firm to “preserve our independence” and provide it with “a war chest for another three years of dramatic growth.”

The agreement comes weeks after Time Warner was reportedly set to invest in Vice with the idea of combining it with Time Warner’s HLN news network. Time Warner’s investment at the time would have valued Vice at US$2.2bn. 21st Century Fox took a 5% stake in Vice last year.

But the A+E deal is likely to give Vice a cable outlet to distribute its programming and news to a wider audience.

Vice began life as a music and lifestyle magazine but moved into operating YouTube channels and producing a self-titled news programme for HBO, which saw basketball star Dennis Rodman travel to North Korea.

The 12-episode show, fronted by Vice co-founder Smith, was also picked up by Foxtel channel Fox8 in Australia and was recently renewed by HBO for third and fourth seasons. It also featured episodes on the Nigerian oil industry and political assassinations in the Philippines.

To hear C21’s recent Talking Shop interview with Vice founder and CEO Shane Smith, click here.


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