Vice Media Finalizes Deal to Acquire Refinery29

Reshuffles executive team

handshake with Vice and Refinery29 logos
Refinery29 co-CEOs and co-founders Philippe von Borries and Justin Stefano will take on advisory roles.
Getty Images, Refinery29, Vice

Refinery29 is now officially part of Vice Media.

It is the first major media merger announced in recent weeks to be successfully completed after Vox Media and New York Media as well as Group Nine and PopSugar also said they intended to merge.

In a memo to staff, Vice Media CEO Nancy Dubuc complimented the award-winning journalists, “numbers junkies” and “quiet wordsmiths” who are now part of the newly merged company.

“And that’s what makes this transformation so exhilarating: you,” Dubuc said in the memo. “We have a tremendous opportunity given all of the exciting changes in our industry, even if those changes sometimes come with angst and agita.”

Under the new organization, Refinery29 co-CEOs and co-founders Philippe von Borries and Justin Stefano will take on advisory roles and step away from day-to-day operations.

Refinery29 co-founder Christene Barberich will continue to serve as global editor in chief of Refinery29, and co-founder Piera Gelardi will “continue to shape the future of the Refinery brand,” according to a statement, as executive creative director of Refinery29.

The brand will remain distinct from Vice Media’s portfolio and will be overseen by Refinery29 global president and chief content officer Amy Emmerich, who will report to Dubuc.

Kate Ward, formerly international president of Refinery29, will be president of Vice Studios, overseeing scripted and nonscripted film projects. Hosi Simon, previously CEO of Asia-Pacific and executive managing director, international at Vice, will be the chief operating officer, overseeing international operations. They will both report to Dubuc. And George Rogers, previously chief development officer and board director at Refinery29, will be chief client officer and report to Dominique Delport, president, international and chief revenue officer.

“This is just the start of our journey together and I know we all have many, many questions. Believe it or not, I do too. While we know the answers to some things, other things will take time,” Dubuc said. “But a few things we know: we will treat each other respectfully, take time to listen, and take care of those impacted by change.”

Media buyers said they were particularly intrigued to see how film production and 29Rooms, Refinery29’s experiential marketing arm, continue to expand under Vice Media’s ownership.

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