Condé Nast Sells 'W' Magazine, Stefano Tonchi to Exit [UPDATED]

The current editor-in-chief is leaving the publication after nearly a decade at the helm.
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Stefano Tonchi. Photo: Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for International Center of Photography

Stefano Tonchi. Photo: Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for International Center of Photography

Following months of speculation, Condé Nast has finally found a buyer for W magazine, according to a statement from the publishing company. On Monday, the owners of Surface and Watch Journal acquired the publication, as well as the license to W Korea, under the newly formed Future Media Group.

Longtime Editor-in-Chief Stefano Tonchi is not coming along as part of the deal. Tonchi, who has been in his role since 2010, had been heavily involved in talks of W's sale and was expected to stay with the publication, but reportedly bowed out after disagreements over salary. Instead, Tonchi will be replaced by Sara Moonves, W's current style director.

"I think he's done a wonderful job at the brand, but from an innovative standpoint and where we are looking to go, I think women's fashion should be seen through women's point of view," Future Media Chief Executive and Chairman Marc Lotenberg told BoF

Future Media Group is lead by Lotenberg and Eric Crown (who Business of Fashion notes is "a tech millionaire and prominent Republican fundraiser based in Arizona"). As part of the transition, Condé Nast has agreed to manage digital and video ad sales, as well as operations, through the end of the year.

UPDATE, Weds. June 26, 2019, 2:45 p.m.: Stefano Tonchi is now suing Condé Nast's owner, Advance, according to a report by Business of Fashion. The former editor-in-chief of W was apparently let go just ahead of the announcement that the publication had been sold; in a lawsuit filed Tuesday, Tonchi "alleges that Condé Nast improperly denied him severance pay as well as a bonus," amounting in nearly $1.1 million in damages.

Additionally, this story originally reported that Future Media Group was partially owned by Sandow Media. That is incorrect and this post has been updated to reflect that information.

Following the news of the lawsuit, a spokesperson for Condé Nast has provided the following statement to Fashionista: "Mr. Tonchi's suit is patently false – Condé Nast has a long track record of honoring all our obligations and more. We look forward to defending the case in court."

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