A+E beats Time Warner to $250m Vice stake

A+E Networks will acquire a 10% stake in hipster content brand Vice Media, beating off competition from Time Warner, according to various reports.

Shane SmithDisney-Hearst joint venture broadcaster A+E is likely to announce the deal this week, with a value of US$250 million placed on it.

This means Vice is worth US$2.5 billion, more than US$1 billion more than when 21st Century Fox paid $70 million for 5%.

Vice CEO Shane Smith confirmed the deal to the Financial Times, saying the deal armed the firm with a new war chest and positioned it for future growth.

According to unnamed sources in various reports, Vice has now ended talks with media giant Time Warner. That deal was thought to be a full company takeover, but will no longer go ahead following A+E’s investment.

Vice will look to create content for A+E’s network of channels, which include A&E and Lifetime, and use cash from the investment to broaden its news operation, which has been praised in recent weeks for dispatches from within the Middle Eastern militant group Isis.

Vice began as a counterculture magazine in Canada, but has grown into a multimedia group with TV and online production capabilities. It has a series on US premium cable channel HBO, which will run until at least 2016 following a deal agreed in May.

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