Private equity firm TPG pumped $450 million into Vice Media Inc. to help the youth culture outlet to produce more video and create online subscription services on the way to a potential IPO. David Trujillo, known for spearheading investments into Uber Technologies Inc. and talent agency Creative Artists Agency LLC, led the transaction with Vice. The transaction was made using capital from its flagship buyout fund. The private equity firm raised $10.5 billion in 2016.
The Vice transaction will help them to continue offering a wide range of programming in preparation for the future. It already produces reality and news programs for cable network Viceland, and publishes video on YouTube and Snapchat. It has recently begun producing its own scripted programming and will use the money to do more. Chief Executive Officer Shane Smith has already raised money from media giants such as Walt Disney Co. and 21st Century Fox, which both own stakes in Vice. Together with the TPG investment, Vice is now valued at $5.7 billion.
Smith has talked openly about selling the company to Disney as a potential buyer, yet Disney did not participate in this latest fundraising round. With this latest valuation, Vice is now more expensive than Marvel Entertainment and Lucasfilm at the time of their acquisitions. Vice is trying to generate a fertile library of intellectual property to make itself more appealing to prospective buyers. The money infused into Vice will allow it to create more programming like "Balls Deep" and "Bong Appetit" which appeal to its youth culture audience, and plans to offer "news, food, music, fashion, art, travel, gaming, lifestyle, scripted, and feature films" according to a statement by Smith.