Rolling Stone co-founder sells controlling stake in publisher of famed magazine
Penske Media Corp. has acquired a controlling stake in Wenner Media, publisher of the famed Rolling Stone magazine, the companies announced Wednesday.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the investment values Wenner Media at roughly $100 million (U.S.), according to a person familiar with the deal. BandLab Technologies, a Singapore-based music technology company, will retain a 49-per-cent stake in Rolling Stone it acquired last year.
Jann Wenner, the co-founder of Rolling Stone, will stay on at Wenner Media as its editorial director. His son, Gus Wenner, will remain president and chief operating officer and will also join the advisory board of Penske Media, whose properties include Variety, Deadline and WWD. The companies said Wenner Media would retain “majority control and editorial oversight” of Rolling Stone.
“I am so proud of our accomplishments over the past 50 years and know Penske Media is the ideal match for us to thrive in today’s media landscape,” Jann Wenner said in a statement.
The Wenners will still be involved with Rolling Stone, but the deal Wednesday represents an end of sorts. It was the elder Wenner, after all, who started the magazine in 1967 from a loft in San Francisco.
Last year, Gus Wenner, 27, orchestrated the deal with BandLab, which invested $40 million in exchange for its share in the magazine. In quick order, Gus Wenner also sold Wenner’s other two titles, Us Weekly and Men’s Journal, to American Media.
“We believe that Penske Media is uniquely qualified to partner with the Wenners to ensure the brand continues to ascend for decades across multiple media platforms,” Jay Penske, the chairman and chief executive of Penske Media, said in a statement.