Vice Digital Properties Move to Savage Ventures JV, but Not Vice News

They’re not dead yet: Most of Vice Media Group‘s digital brands — including Vice.com — will be relaunched under a new joint venture formed by the struggling media company. But the future of Vice News remains uncertain.

In February, Vice Media had announced that it would stop publishing content on consumer-facing digital outlets and the Brooklyn-based company laid off several hundred employees.

Now, under a new pact, most of those digital businesses will live on. Vice Media and Nashville-based Savage Ventures announced Thursday the formation of a joint venture and strategic partnership to “relaunch and grow” properties including Vice.com, Munchies, Motherboard and Noisey as well as all associated social platforms, YouTube channels and websites. The companies claim the combined portfolio has almost 100 million followers across all platforms.

However, Vice News is not part of the Savage Ventures JV. Vice Media said it “continues to have strategic discussions with leading global news organizations regarding Vice News and partnering to amplify the company’s multi-award-winning, long-form news and documentary content.”

Terms of the deal between Vice Media and Savage Ventures were not disclosed. The venture-capital company will invest “tens of millions of dollars” into the Vice digital businesses, a Vice rep told Axios.

The once high-flying Vice Media last year announced a bankruptcy reorganization and sale to three of its lenders. Following steady layoffs and executive and staff departures, it has refocused on a business-to-business model, seeking to distribute its content “to the widest possible audience by best-in-class partners.” Last month, Vice Media sold Refinery29 to Sundial Media Group (parent company of Essence), coming after it sold i-D Magazine to Karlie Kloss.

Vice Media Group’s core businesses are now Vice Studios Group; Vice TV, the cable entertainment television network operated in partnership with A+E; and ad agency Virtue. Under the joint venture with Savage Ventures, Vice will have “branding control” over the digital properties but will not manage them.

Savage Ventures says it invests in, acquires and operates “high-growth, digital-first businesses.” Its current portfolio includes music brands under the Savage Music banner, video production and creative services division Savage Media, sports and gaming media conglomerate Savage Sports, and direct-to-consumer healthcare brand 247Health. Savage Ventures has managed digital businesses such as Outdoors.com (in partnership with Bear Grylls) and AmericanSongwriter.com.

“We are extremely excited about the opportunity to partner with [CEO] Bruce [Dixon] and the Vice Media team on relaunching Vice Digital,” Sam Savage, CEO of Savage Ventures, said in a statement. “The Vice brand remains an important cultural icon, and we intend to honor its legacy of compelling storytelling as we shepherd it into the new media landscape.”

Dixon said in a statement, “There is intrinsic value in the Vice brand and finding the right partner to re-energize our Vice digital assets is important to our continued growth. Savage Ventures presented us with a unique opportunity to re-energize Vice’s digital businesses. This structure allows us to leverage Savage’s leading expertise and furthers our vision to produce compelling original content that entertains while pushing boundaries.”

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