• Media giant's stake values programmer at more than $4 billion
  • Funds will be used to program Viceland channel coming in 2016

Walt Disney Co. doubled its investment in Vice Media Inc. to $400 million, providing funds the closely held media company can use for new programming and international expansion, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.

The funding values New York-based Vice at more than $4 billion, said the people, who weren’t authorized to speak publicly and asked not to be identified. Vice will use some of the money to create shows for Viceland, a cable channel jointly owned with A+E Networks that debuts next year, said the people.

Disney, the world’s largest entertainment company, is emerging as one of the biggest outside investors in Vice, with a 10 percent stake of its own. It also holds an interest through A+E, a joint venture with Hearst Corp. Vice, which began as a cultural magazine in Canada, has also raised money from 21st Century Fox Inc., Technology Crossover Ventures and Raine Group LLC.

Vice has attracted investors with a portfolio of websites and online video channels popular among younger audiences.

Television has become a much larger piece of the company’s business in recent years through its relationship with Time Warner Inc.’s HBO. Vice produces a weekly news magazine show and said in March it would produce a daily news show.

Viceland gives the company a cable outlet of its own. The network, controlled by A+E, will replace the H2 channel on pay-TV systems and will reach 70 million homes, the companies said last month when they announced the deal. 

Vice, led by co-founder Shane Smith, will supply the programming, while A&E Television Networks LLC oversees technical operations.

The Financial Times reported on Disney’s increased investment earlier Tuesday.

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