WPP forges 'unholy alliance' with Vice stake

Sir Martin Sorrell has dusted off his youth credentials with an investment in Vice Media, the group that publishes Vice, the self-confessed "coolest magazine in the world".

Vice Media announced yesterday that advertising giant WPP had invested alongside MTV's founder Tom Freston, and the merchant bank The Raine Group. The company would not reveal the exact size of the injection, beyond saying it was in the "high eight figures".

The group also announced a strategic partnership with the agency William Morris Endeavor (WME), run by Ari Emanuel, the super-agent who is believed to be the basis for the Ari Gold character in the hit series Entourage.

Vice's founder Shane Smith described the partnership, in his inimitable style, as an "unholy alliance that will ensure no other media company will ever stand a chance against Vice's relentless onslaught". He added: "Sir Martin Sorrell and WPP, Ari Emanuel and WME, along with Tom Freston and Joe Ravitch are so good at what they do that they scare me. Having this group aboard is like having a rocket strapped to your skateboard – when they turn on the jets, you're in for a hell of a ride."

The group intends to "continue its transformation into one of the world's leading youth media companies". It is looking to expand globally, specifically targeting the emerging markets of Brazil, China, India and South Korea.

WPP will help Vice get in the door at some of the world's largest brands, it said. Sir Martin Sorrell said: "WPP is investing in Vice to further develop our content capabilities, particularly in new media and among the youth consumer segments. Vice has been extremely successful in developing and repositioning major brands in these areas." Tom Freston, a former chief executive of Viacom, will advise on the company's expansion. He said Vice Media "is bursting with creativity".

Vice was set up by friends Shane Smith, Suroosh Alvi and Gavin McInnes in Canada as a free fanzine in 1994 before it moved to New York. The company now distributes more than a million copies of each issue around the world. It launched a UK edition in 2002, with about 85,000 copies distributed through clothing and music outlets and cafes.

Vice operates in 31 countries and has set about heavily expanding over the past four years, to the extent where Matt Elek, the group publisher for Europe, said the magazine is "just a part of what we do". Last week, it announced the launch of a new music channel Noisey.com in partnership with Dell and Intel. Divisions include Vice Films and Vice Records and it has expanded into books, DVDs, and an online TV network, VBS.TV. The channel was launched in 2007, with Being John Malkovich director Spike Jonze.

Mr Elek said the investment would help the group expand, adding that it was not selling out. Asked what he thought about the magazine's reputation as the hipster bible, he replied wearily: "That is vaguely true, but I like to think it's a whole lot more than that."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Life and Style
A picture taken on February 11, 2014 at people walking at sunrise on the Trocadero Esplanade, also known as the Parvis des droits de l'homme (Parvis of Human Rights), in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
techGoogle celebrates Paris's iconic landmark, which opened to the public 126 years ago today
News
Scientists believe Mercury is coated in billions of years’ worth of carbon dust, after being ‘dumped on’ by passing comets
science
News
Cleopatra the tortoise suffers from a painful disease that causes her shell to disintegrate; her new prosthetic one has been custom-made for her using 3D printing technology
newsCleopatra had been suffering from 'pyramiding'
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Coachella and Lollapalooza festivals have both listed the selfie stick devices as “prohibited items”
music
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Sheridan Maine: Accounts Assistant

£30,000 Annual: Sheridan Maine: A fantastic opportunity has arisen for a perso...

Richard Bishop: Accounts Payable Clerk

£11 - £13 Hourly Rate: Richard Bishop: Are you looking for a purchase ledger r...

Jemma Gent: Management Accountant

£250-£300 Day Rate: Jemma Gent: Are you qualified accountant with previous exp...

Richard Bishop: Accounts Payable Clerk

£11 - £13 Hourly Rate: Richard Bishop: Are you looking for a purchase ledger r...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor