Vice Media group is preparing to go public with a so-called ‘blank check’ merger that would free it of the financial obligations it holds with the private equity firm TPG.
The move comes alongside a move away from its short-lived linear broadcasts in favour of streaming services.
Blank check firm 7GC & Co Holdings is preparing to meet institutional investors to begin the scheme that would leave TPG, alongside Disney, A&E Networks, merchant bank Raine Group and founder Shane Smith with around 75% of the new company. TPG owns preferred stock, meaning it would receive additional equity if performance targets failed to be met.
A SPAC (special-purpose acquisition company) bypasses the traditional IPO process through the acquisition of a shell company already listed on the stock exchange.
Vice is valued at $3 billion, close to halve the $5.7 billion at the time of TPG’s $450 million investment in 2017. Vice Media includes a number of businesses including an ad agency and its film and TV production arms.
The Vice channel left Sky at the end of April, but it recent weeks it has announced deals with streaming platforms.
Today it announced a new presence on Roku with a so-called Fast Channel. It is already available on Pluto TV, Discovery+, SBS Australia, Hulu and All 4.
VICE Distribution launched in Summer 2020 and has a catalogue of over 1000 hours of programming created across VICE Media Group.