Vice was once worth $5.7B. It’s about to get a huge valuation haircut.

Vice and BuzzFeed will take valuation haircuts when they go public via SPACs.

March 17, 2021

Before The Hustle became your favorite source of irreverent news coverage, there was Vice.

Founded as a free magazine in Montreal in 1994, Vice was one of the most visible new media brands over the past decade — it peaked at a $5.7B valuation following a big investment round that included Disney.

Today, Vice could be worth 75% less

The Information reports that Vice is looking to go public via a merger with a SPAC company called 890 Fifth Avenue Partners. Negotiations value the company’s equity at $1.4B, after debts are paid.

Its revenue reached ~$600m in 2020, barely up from the prior year.

However, Vice’s CEO Nancy Dubuc has improved the business by cutting costs, with annual losses declining from $100m to $20m.

The source of Vice’s pain is its business model…

… which made a large bet on (low-margin) TV and news production.

Rich Antoniello — the CEO of Complex — thinks Vice should have put its eggs into ecommerce and culture… like Complex did (think Hot Ones, the popular web show of people eating hot wings while being interviewed).

Another noteworthy media brand is also going the SPAC route: BuzzFeed is eyeing a market cap of $1.7B… which is only slightly lower than its current valuation, per The Information.

Our $0.02: The companies should merge into ViceFeed and become a Bitcoin holding company.

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