September 4, 2014 / 5:01 PM / 3 years ago

Youth-focused VICE Media secures $500 million to fund expansion

LONDON, Sept 4 (Reuters) - Youth brand VICE Media has secured $500 million investment from Silicon Valley’s Technology Crossover Ventures (TCV) and A+E Networks to help put content like its recent documentary on Islamic State on more devices, it said on Thursday.

The two partners, which each invested $250 million, join investors including Rupert Murdoch and Martin Sorrell’s WPP in backing the brand whose counter-culture content and news coverage has struck a chord with young people across magazines, online video, television and movies.

The fundraising values the group founded in Montreal in 1994 at more than $2.5 billion, VICE Media said. The group operates in 36 countries and says its content reaches more than 150 million people a month.

Founder and Chief Executive Shane Smith, who still reports from war zones like Ukraine, said the investment would help New-York-based VICE develop more content and put it on more platforms.

“High-quality content and innovative tech platforms will drive VICE through this next period of growth on our relentless quest for total media domination,” he said.

VICE board member Tom Freston, who was previously chief executive of MTV Networks and Viacom, said the capital injection from A+E, a joint venture of Disney-ABC Television and Hearst Corporation, and TCV would help VICE meet the demand for its content across more platforms.

“After looking at a lot of partners, these were the best,” he told Reuters. “A+E are very entrepreneurial and they are very focused on the millennial generation.”

TCV, which has invested in more than 200 technology companies in the last 18 years including Facebook and Netflix, would help VICE accelerate its distribution capabilities in mobile, he added.

Reporting by Paul Sandle; editing by Susan Thomas

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