Vice Media reportedly set to take over A+E's H2 Channel

Vice Media is expected to announce as early as today a new deal to turn A+E Networks' H2 Channel into a Vice-branded network featuring entertainment and lifestyle programming.

Vice and A+E have been flirting for months, with the edgy digital media brand anxious to gain a toehold in the richer advertising market of linear television and the cable programming conglomerate looking to get a bigger piece of the Vice Media brand.

According to the Wall Street Journal, A+E will now control 15 percent of Vice Media. Vice, meanwhile, will own 50 percent of the rebranded H2.

A+E, a joint venture of Walt Disney Co. and Hearst Corp., already enjoys a controlling stake in Vice as a result of participating in a $500 million investment in the company earlier this year. 

In October, Vice Media CEO Shane Smith told CNBC that his company was on pace to take in $1 billion this year. He said Vice is in acquisition talks with "everybody" at a valuation of around $5 billion. 

Also in October, A+E CEO Nancy Dubuc said her company was looking for "strategic ways to partner" with Vice.

Vice already partners with HBO to produce documentary programming for the premium cable programmer. That partnership has resulted in several prime-time Emmys.

As for the rebranded A+E channel, WSJ reports that filmmaker Spike Jonze will serve as create director for the network. 

Vice -- which produces 100 hours of video programming each month -- already has a deal with Canada's Rogers Communications to establish a branded channel in the Great White North.

For more:
- read this Wall Street Journal story
- read this New York Times story
- read this Deadline Hollywood story

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