Vice Media Group Takes Full Control of Pulse Films, Co-Founders Thomas Benski and Marissa Clifford Depart

Vice Media Group has taken full control of “Gangs of London” producer Pulse Films.

Pulse co-founders Thomas Benski and Marisa Clifford, who founded the edgy production outfit back in 2005, have departed the company following the takeover, although Variety understands it was their decision to step down ahead of the acquisition. It’s believed the duo will continue to work together in another capacity.

Vice took a controlling stake in Pulse Films in 2016, long before the youth-skewing media brand overseen by Nancy Dubuc launched its own in-house production arm in Vice Studios. Pulse won’t be folded into the company, Variety can confirm, and will remain a distinct brand.

Pulse will be managed by the newly appointed global creative director of non-fiction Diene Petterle; chief operating officer of scripted Jamie Hall; and global president of commercials and entertainment Davud Karbassioun. They will all report into Vice Studios CEO Kate Ward.

The takeover isn’t surprising given Pulse Films has been driving much of Vice’s revenues out of the U.K. Pulse reported a £4.2 million profit (up from £303,000 in 2019) and £89 million in revenues (up from £62 million) for 2020, as per Companies House filings from January 2022.

Filings reveal that Benski and Clifford resigned as directors in December 2021.

Pulse’s current movie slate includes the Nicolas Cage-fronted “Pig,” Riz Ahmed’s “Mogul Mowgli” and Sundance documentary “Meet Me in the Bathroom.” The company has been expanding into television in recent years with shows such as Sky’s “Gangs of London” and “Dead Asleep.” The business also has a lucrative branded entertainment and music and commercial arm.

Speaking to Variety in 2020, as the company was moving into television, Benski said: “In our business, a lot of people say, ‘We want to be different,’ but as soon as you try to challenge what being different is, the money shrinks because people get scared. We’ve been able to see those opportunities early, and we’re not afraid of being left field. Also, the market has now moved closer to us than 15 years ago, when things were a lot safer.”

Pulse is headquartered in London with offices in Los Angeles, New York, Paris, Berlin and Milan.

U.K. trade outlet Broadcast was first to report the news of the Vice takeover.

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