Vice Media is exploring the possible sale of its studio business, looking to take advantage of rising valuations for production companies in recent months. But a sale of the business would deprive Vice of its biggest business and would raise questions about the future direction of the firm.
The media firm is working with investment bank PJT and LionTree to explore the sale of the studio, said people familiar with the situation. Vice has struggled for several years to turn profitable and it faces pressure from investors, including TPG, to repay $1.1 billion in debt it owes. The move follows several deals done for production companies, including Reese Witherspoon’s production firm Hello Sunshine, as the expansion of the streaming market has driven demand for content.
The studio unit, which is Vice’s biggest business by revenue contribution, makes documentaries, movies and podcasts for streaming services which in the past have included Hulu and Spotify. The studio recently acquired full ownership of Pulse Films, the producer of “Gangs of London.” Vice also owns the Virtu ad agency, a news website and a cable channel called Viceland.