'Rolling Stone' bought by Penske Media (who own 'Variety,' 'Deadline' & more)

Todd Singleton
December 23, 2017

Jay Penske and his company, PMC, have made their single largest investment ever to acquire controlling interests in Wenner Media, publishers of the definitive music magazine Rolling Stone and related digital assets, for $100 million.

BandLab, a Singaporean company, previously acquired a 49 percent stake in Rolling Stone in a deal led by Gus Wenner, who also hived off Wenner titles US Weekly and Men's Journal to American Media, owned by David Pecker.

BandLabs Technologies, the Singapore-based company that bought 49 percent of Rolling Stone past year, had a right of first refusal for any offer for the rest of the magazine, according to people familiar with the sale process.

Jann Wenner, who founded Rolling Stone 50 years ago with the critic Ralph Gleason and nurtured it into the 20th century's preeminent voice on music and counterculture, will stay on as the magazine's Editorial Director, and his son Gus Wenner will remain President & COO and join Penske Media's Advisory Board. 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.

Rolling Stone's parent company, Wenner Media, has a new corporate boss.

Rolling Stone will remain headquartered in NY. With his editorial judgment, Jann Wenner became a fierce arbiter of what was cool.

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Well before that stain on its reputation, however, Rolling Stone suffered significant growing pains in adapting to the digital era. In its pages, Wenner cultivated literary icons, including Hunter S. Thompson and Tom Wolfe, whose lengthy articles chronicled an often chaotic and intoxicating world.

With the magazine, Wenner seized the freewheeling culture of the 1960s and 1970s and spun it into a publication that some of the baby-boomer ilk came to call "The Bible".

Wenner started other magazines, including Outside in 1977 and Family Life in 1993.

Second, his refusal to offload Rolling Stone at the height of its value a few years later, around 2008.

Wenner rocketed into the celebrity world that had long enchanted him.

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