Smith (45), who spent a summer pulling pints in the Baggot Inn pub in Dublin, is making a fortune out of repackaging ‘gonzo’ journalism for the new media age.
His parents — a computer programmer and a paralegal — emigrated from Ireland to Canada, with Smith growing up in Ottawa. He owns a 30pc stake in fast-growing Vice Media, a rising star of digital media. With its millennial audience and rapidly-growing video division, Vice has attracted the attention of bigger fish. Rupert Murdoch’s Newscorp paid €54m for a 5pc stake in 2013, valuing the company at over €1bn.
Last August, Time Warner was said to be close to a €1.7bn buyout but the deal fell apart over disagreement about valuations. Smith has said that the company would be worth $30bn if it ever floated. Maybe. . . but not yet. The media tycoon is said to have spent $300,000 on a dinner at chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Prime Steakhouse in Las Vegas for 30 friends after winning $1m playing blackjack.