Time Warner Inc. (NYSE:TWX) is in advanced negotiations to buy Vice Media, Sky News reported Monday. A Vice rep did not promptly respond to inquiries on the rumor.
The reported deal listed Vice as being worth $2.2 billion, which is more than 50 percent higher than last year's estimate. Though nothing has been made final just yet, Sky News reported the deal was at “advanced negotiations” but could still fall apart. Time Warner would reportedly combine its HLN cable news channel with Vice.
Vice has become known for its provocative nature. Its offerings range from porn star blogs to investigative pieces on the deadly Russian street drug “Krokodil” to front line video reports from war zones. It was started in 1994 as a “punk zine” for music fanatics, but has since grown into housing a record label, advertising agency and a television channel.
Last year Shane Smith, the company's Canadian co-founder and chief executive, voiced his hopes for his company. "I want us to be the next MTV, ESPN and CNN rolled into one - and everyone always rolls their eyes," Smith told a newspaper last year, according to the news site.
"The reality is that MTV was bought by Viacom and CNN went to Time Warner. We have set ourselves up to build a global platform but we have maintained control."
Smith has called Vice the “Time Warner of the streets.” Variety noted that Vice made a deal with Time Warner’s HBO for a newsmagazine series last month, which has been renewed through 2016.
Time Warner isn’t the only company that has an interest in Vice. Variety noted that 21st Century Fox invested $70 million for a 5 percent stake, which implied a total value for Vice of $1.4 billion.
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