April 26, 2018

Rolling Stone Sold for $100M

23 December 2017, 12:18 | Rudolph Thomas

Rolling Stone, which turned 50 this year, has been acquired by Penske Media, the corporation that owns other titles/brands such as Variety, Deadline, Indie Wire, Women's Wear Daily and more.

In a major move, Penske Media Corp. and Wenner Media today announced Penske's strategic investment in Wenner Media, majority owner of iconic music and pop culture publication Rolling Stone.

BandLab, a Singapore-based company that acquired a 49 percent share of Rolling Stone, will retain its stake. Per the transaction, Wenner will become editorial director of Rolling Stone, and his son, Gus, will remain its president and chief operating officer, while also joining PMC's advisory board.

Rolling Stone was founded in 1967 with a $7,500 loan from family members of the founders, Jann Wenner and Ralph Gleason.

Financial details of the deal were not disclosed but according to the Financial Times the agreement values the publication at approximately $110m (£82m) and marks the end of Wenner Media's control of Rolling Stone. It is reported to rival what it paid for Fairchild's stable of titles in 2014.

Rolling Stone serialized Thompson's "Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas" as well as works by author Tom Wolfe, and featured cover photographer to rising photographer Annie Leibovitz in its heyday. Wenner was infamously dismissive of the Internet as it burgeoned into the dominant force in media around the turn of the century, "farming out" management of to outside companies, according to Joe Hagan's recent biography of Wenner, Sticky Fingers. In Sticky Fingers, Hagan writes that Wenner Media was at one point valued at around $1 billion dollars by Wenner's accountants and was being courted for an acquisition by Hearst at that valuation.

Wenner rocketed into the celebrity world that had long enchanted him. Wenner Media sold off the property earlier this year for $100 million. His name, however, was synonymous with Rolling Stone. "This will allow us to do that in a way we haven't been able to over the last couple of years".

"My life is wrapped up in Rolling Stone", Wenner told Hagan, "my career, what I do day to day, and I didn't want to jeopardize that".

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