A&E Expected to Buy 10% Stake in Vice Media

Deal Could Close as Soon as This Weekend

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Vice has become a sprawling media company with multiple digital video channels and an HBO series.
Vice has become a sprawling media company with multiple digital video channels and an HBO series. Credit: HBO

Vice Media confirmed Friday that it is in talks to sell a 10% stake to A&E Networks for $250 million.

The deal, which would value Vice at roughly $2.5 billion, is expected to close soon and comes the same day as reports saying Time Warner ended discussions to buy its own stake in the media company. That deal would have valued Vice at roughly $2 billion.

Nancy Dubuc, president and CEO of A&E Networks, helped orchestrate the agreement, according to a person familiar with the matter. A spokesman for A&E declined to comment.

Just how a piece of Vice will fit in A&E's portfolio -- which includes its namesake channel as well as History, Lifetime and the recently introduced FYI -- remains a question. History does attract a strong base of male viewers, but with a median age of over 50, it skews much older than Vice. Diversifying the audience it relies on may be part of the appeal for A&E.

Last year, 21st Century Fox paid $70 million for a 5% stake in Vice, valuing the company at $1.4 billion.

Vice has grown from a weekly magazine in Montreal to a sprawling digital media company with multiple digital video channels, a popular Vice News channel on YouTube and an HBO series. The company has worked closely with brands to develop branded content series.

The Financial Times first reported on the talks between A&E and Vice on Friday afternoon.

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