Media

Walt Disney doubles Vice stake ahead of ambitious television expansion

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By Tony Connelly | Sports Marketing Reporter

December 9, 2015 | 3 min read

Walt Disney has doubled its stake in Vice to 10 per cent as the media group prepares for its US cable TV network launch and a series of new international products.

The reported $200m deal for the additional 5 per cent stake now values Vice Media at $4bn (£2.6bn).

Walt Disney’s investment comes as the media owner prepares to launch its own cable channel, Viceland, in the US in February. The 24-hour news channel will broadcast on A+E Networks which Disney co-owns with Hearst.

Disney will hope that the accelerating popularity of the media organisation will help it turn around declining shares as a result of losing three million subscribers for its prized ESPN channel.

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The additional money from Disney will go toward programming for the new channel, online and mobile platforms and international expansion as Vice plans an aggressive move into European television.

Vice co-founder Shane Smith told the Guardian that the group was in talks with a number of potential platforms for the European roll out including Sky, ITV, Netflix and Discovery.

The company has attracted admiration and investment from a number of high profile media investors including a $70m investment from 21st Century Fox.

As well as media agreements with Disney’s A+E Networks, Vice will also launch a daily news programme on Time Warner’s HBO.

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