Vice Media to cut workforce by up to 15%, consolidate websites
Vice Media plans to shrink its workforce by as much as 15% through attrition and cut its selection of digital sites by at least half, according to people familiar with the matter, as growth stalls at the onetime new-media darling.
Revenue at the Brooklyn-based company is expected to be roughly flat this year, the people said, coming in between $600 and $650 million, on par with 2017. That number is more than $100 million below the projection Vice offered private-equity firm TPG in the summer of 2017. TPG’s investment gave Vice a $5.7 billion valuation, the highest of any new-media company. Vice lost more than $100 million in 2017 and is on track to lose more than $50 million this year, people familiar with the matter said.
At a board meeting in Los Angeles on Tuesday, Vice Chief Executive Nancy Dubuc suggested the company focus on areas of growth, such as its in-house advertising agency, Virtue, and make more television shows and movies for third parties. The plan outlined by Dubuc, who took over from co-founder Shane Smith in May, essentially shifts Vice’s emphasis away from the kind of online content that originally put it on the map for young users, but struggled in recent years as traffic stalled.
Vice runs more than a dozen online “verticals” such as Munchies for food, Noisey for music and Broadly for women. Dubuc plans to fold several of them into between three and five verticals, according to people familiar with the matter.
An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.
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