News of the potential sale comes on the eve of Rolling Stone's 50th anniversary and marks the end of an era for Jann Wenner, who redefined American pop culture with his edgy ideas and hard-hitting reporting style.
However, the publication was left financially bruised when it had to retract a 2014 story focusing on an alleged gang rape at the University of Virginia.
In June, Rolling Stone reached a $1.65 million settlement with the UVA fraternity that sued the magazine over the way it was depicted in the discredited article.More news: Cubs' Willson Contreras suspended one game, serving Sunday
Earlier this year, Wenner Media sold Men's Journal and Us Weekly to American Media Inc. for undisclosed sums.
"Rolling Stone is a uniquely powerful brand with enormous opportunities to succeed in today's environment", Wenner President and Chief Operating Officer Media Gus Wenner said in a statement. The article prompted three libel lawsuits against Rolling Stone, one of which led to a highly publicized trial a year ago that culminated with a federal jury awarding the plaintiff $3 million in damages. "Rolling Stone has played such a role in the history of our times, socially and politically and culturally", he said. "So we are being proactive and want to get ahead of the curve", he said. "The trends go in one direction, and we are very aware of that". To be featured on Rolling Stone's cover offered a moment of immortality for the artist, solidifying them as one of the key voices of their generation. But letting go is "just the smart thing to do", he added.
In an interview with the New York Times, Jann Wenner, who founded the magazine in 1967, while he was a student hippie at the University of Berkeley, explained that he wanted to see his title taken over by a family business. Terry McDonell, a former Rolling Stone editor, told the Times.