Walt Disney Co. is writing down its investment in Vice Media for the second time in less than a year. In its otherwise upbeat second-quarter earnings report, the company said it was taking an impairment of $353 million for Vice.
This follows the $157 million write-down Disney disclosed during its fourth-quarter earnings report in November. Vice Media was valued at about $5.7 billion post-money in June 2017 and raised a total of $1.4 billion in funding, including $500 million from Disney in 2015. Last week, however, the Wall Street Journal reported that the media company had taken $250 million in debt financing from investors led by George Soros as it tries to find a way to reverse its slowed growth and stalling traffic.
Disney owns 21% of Vice, in addition to smaller stakes through 21st Century Fox, which it acquired in March, and A&E Networks, a joint venture between Heart Corporation and Disney-ABC Television, one of its subsidiaries.
The Vice write-down was a low point in an otherwise strong quarter for Disney. The company reported a 3% increase in revenue to $14.9 billion and earnings per share of $1.61, beating analysts’ expectations. It also announced three new “Star Wars” films will be released starting in December 2022, along with a roster of other upcoming titles that includes “Cruella” and the “Avatar” sequels.
TechCrunch has contacted Vice Media for comment.
In a statement to Business Insider, a Vice spokesperson said it is “on target to meet, if it not exceed, its financial targets for the third straight quarter,” adding that “our new executive team’s strategic plan is well underway and with the recent capital rise, we will continue investing in the long-term growth of our five global businesses—television, studio, digital, news and our advertising agency, Virtue.”
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