Penske Media Acquires Majority Stake in Rolling Stone

Laverne Mann
December 23, 2017

He will remain on as president/COO of Wenner Media. BandLab Technologies, a Singapore-based music technology company, will retain a 49-per-cent stake in Rolling Stone it acquired a year ago.

In September 2016, Wenner Media sold a 49 percent stake in Rolling Stone to BandLab Technologies, a startup for making and sharing music based in Singapore.

Now, a media firm named Penske Media owned by Jay Penske will be buying 51% stakes in this NY based publication.

Variety, which was bought by Penske in 2012, reports that several bidders were kicking the company's tires before Penske's announcement last night: Azoff MSG Entertainment CEO Irving Azoff and Madison Square Garden chairman James Dolan; Rizvi Travers, owner of Playboy; and Todd Boehly, the owner of Billboard, The Hollywood Reporter, SPIN, Vibe and Stereogum (all within a group that is reportedly up for sale itself). He has sold off those other assets.

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However, the magazine had to risk its reputation when it published a false story in 2014 about an alleged rape at the University of Virginia; however, the magazine retracted the story in 2015, and paid for defamation settlement. Its coverage on the polarizing rise of President Donald Trump has been in keeping with the spirited origins, when the magazine became famous for the journalistic exploits of writers including Hunter S. Thompson and Cameron Crowe.

Penske Media stated that the company's interest in Rolling Stone was "driven by its people, its cultural significance and the globally recognized brand that has no peer in its areas of influence". "We believe that Penske Media is uniquely qualified to partner with the Wenners to ensure the brand continues to ascend for decades across multiple platforms".

However, Penske Media has specified that Jay Wenner will be kept on as the editorial director of the company. That price surprised some people who had looked at the deal earlier in the year, and valued the stake in the $30 million to $40 million range. Penske Media is hoping to take the magazine into the future. His son Gus, who has driven the magazine's digital strategy for several years, will remain president and chief operating officer and join an advisory board at Penske, which owns almost two dozen media brands including WWD, Hollywood trade website Deadline and Hollywood Life.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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