CEO Shane Smith says his company "would be stupid" to not consider an IPO.
Vice Media CEO Shane Smith says the millennial-focused digital news company is eyeing a “deal spree” next year in prelude to an eventual IPO, according to the Financial Times.
In an interview with FT, Smith referred to his company’s “war chest,” which contains roughly $500 million Vice secured earlier this year from two investment deals with cable network A&E and venture firm Technology Crossover Ventures. The two investors each took 10% stakes in Vice as part of those deals, which valued the company at about $2.5 billion.
“Our war chest is the size of the full valuation of our competition so we will see some major . . . deals happen,” Smith told FT on Monday.
He insisted that Vice would remain independent while adding that it”would be stupid not to think about an IPO.”
On Monday, Vice also said it had hired M&A attorney James Schwab as Vice Media’s new co-president. Schwab comes from the law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, where he advised media clients such as DreamWorks and Vice.
Media companies have been lining up to get a piece of Vice. Last year, Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox FOX took a 5% stake in Vice. Meanwhile, earlier this year, Time Warner TWX was rumored to be considering buying a large chunk of the company and getting it a television channel.
With A&E’s investment, Vice got a pipeline for more of its content to hit cable. The company already has an ongoing documentary series on HBO.
Vice push for more content, technology and distribution deals comes amid intense deal activity in the digital content space. Comedy website CollegeHumor went up for sale earlier this month while fellow comedic media companies Funny or Die and The Onion are also considering sales.