Vice Media is restarting its sale process after earlier interested bidders balked at the initial price tag, according to people familiar with the situation.
The digital media company, which was valued at $5.7 billion in 2017, is now likely to fetch a price of below $1 billion, the people said. Initially, Vice was looking for a valuation between $1 billion and $1.5 billion, one of the people added. The people weren’t authorized to speak publicly on the matter.
A Vice Media spokesperson declined to comment.
Vice last year hired advisers to facilitate a sale of some or all of its business, CNBC previously reported. Some of its most attractive assets are likely to be its content studio and creative advertising agency, Virtue, CNBC previously reported, but the company is attempting to sell itself in full rather than in pieces, the people said.
One of Vice’s lenders, Fortress Investment Group, is a driving force in the sale process, the people said, and has agreed to wait on loan repayment. Fortress was reportedly part of a consortium of lenders in 2019 that provided $250 million in debt to Vice.