Penske Media buys majority stake in Rolling Stone magazine


Almost three months to the day since it began accepting bids for the coveted, if diminished, independent media company, Penske Media has been announced as having made a significant "strategic investment" in Jann Wenner's company.

Gus Wenner added: "Rolling Stone's past, present and future is in great storytelling and that's where we want to put our investment".

BandLabs Technologies, the Singapore-based company that bought 49 percent of Rolling Stone previous year, had a right of first refusal for any offer for the rest of the magazine, according to people familiar with the sale process. 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. The stretch for him will be running an iconic brand: While Penske owns some consumer-facing properties, like Robb Report and BGR, this is by far the best-known title he will have owned.

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.

It then sold two other titles it also owned to help pay off some long-term debts, before indicating in September that it was now considering bids for the other 51% of the business.

Writers who found a home at Rolling Stone included P.J.

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The Wenners will still be involved with Rolling Stone, but the deal Wednesday represents an end of sorts. 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.

Wenner Media was previously valued at $50 million.

Note that in Rolling Stone's absence, no one has really created a dominant digital destination for music-related content.

In any case, it's no longer Jann Wenner's problem.

First: In 2006, his buyback of a stake in US Weekly he had sold to the Walt Disney Company five years earlier.

Updated, 11:45 a.m., December 21 with details of a settlement reached over Rolling Stone's misreporting on a story of rape at the University of Virginia.