W Magazine sold to Future Media Group; Stefano Tonchi exits
Newly formed media company Future Media Group revealed on Tuesday that it has acquired W Magazine from Condé Nast, with Stefano Tonchi announcing that he is stepping down as the publication’s editor-in-chief after almost a decade in the role.
Future Media Group, a new holding company created by Surface Media and made up of W, Surface and Watch Journal, will be looking to develop the digital reach of its latest acquisition but has also pledged to continue to publish eight print issues of the magazine annually.
The company will operate W offices in Paris, Milan and New York, and has plans to open a fourth bureau in Los Angeles in the near future.
Condé Nast will continue to offer support services for the publication during a transitional period. After this, the teams of W, Surface and Watch Journal will be brought together into one office in order to facilitate collaboration.
At this point, W’s current VP of revenue, Amber Estabrook, will become chief revenue officer of Future Media Group, one of more than 30 employees sticking with the magazine through the transition, including editor-at-large Lynn Hirschberg.
Tonchi, who has held the role of editor-in-chief at the publication since 2010, will not, however, be coming along for the ride. Following the first announcement that W was up for sale, the Italian-born fashion journalist was initially interested in finding partners for the publication and maintaining his leadership role but has since had a change of heart, reportedly due to disagreements about the magazine’s future.
He will be succeeded by W’s current style director Sara Moonves, who will become the magazine’s first female editor-in-chief since its launch 47 years ago. She first joined the publication in 2017, having previously worked at Vogue and T: The New York Times Style Magazine.
“Sara has impeccable taste and a keen eye for how a media brand should evolve in today’s fast-paced media landscape,” said Future Media Group CEO Marc Lotenberg in a release. “She has enormous credibility in the fashion community, not to mention a forward-thinking sensibility that will bring W beyond its core print distribution into various offline, online and augmented formats.”
Having purchased W from The Walt Disney Company in 1999, Condé Nast has been looking to sell the magazine, along with Brides and Golf Digest, since August of last year, as it struggles to stave off mounting losses.
W currently boasts over 500,000 paid subscribers and reaches a digital audience of more than 3 million users per month through its website.
The publication’s sale price has not been disclosed.
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