Exclusive: Vice Launches Three-Year Global Partnership With Warner Bros. Records
Exclusive: Vice Launches Three-Year Global Partnership With Warner Bros. Records

Vice Media Inc., the company spawned from a Montreal-based punk magazine that now includes music, film and book divisions, has secured investments from a trio of heavy hitters in an effort to boost its expanding business.

The company is set to announce Tuesday that it has formed investment partnerships with Tom Freston, the founder of MTV and former chief executive of Viacom; WPP, a publicly traded communications services firm; and the Raine Group, a merchant bank. The size of the investments by each was not disclosed. As part of the deal, WME and chief executive Ari Emanuel will represent Vice across all media, including film, television, live events and music, it was announced.

Vice, which is based in New York and has a presence in nearly three dozen countries, is known for its influential counterculture magazine. But in recent years, the company has branched out, starting film and television ventures. The company said in a statement that the resources of its new partners would allow it to expand across the globe, with a focus on emerging markets, including China, India and Brazil.

"Having this group aboard is like having a rocket strapped to your skateboard, when they turn on the jets, you're in for a hell of a ride," Vice co-founder Shane Smith said in a statement.

Freston, the former Viacom chief executive, will have a seat on the company's board, alongside WPP and Raine Group. Each made a minority investment in the company.

"The company is bursting with creativity, and they have built an impressive array of smart, innovative and successful businesses all laser-focused on their audience," Freston said in a statement.

Vice has built a reputation on its edgy approach to journalism. In 2008, for example, Vice traveled to North Korea for an episode of its MTV series, The Vice Guide to Everything.

The news was first reported by the New York Times.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboardbiz

Print