Jann Wenner


Jann Wenner, the cofounder and publisher of Rolling Stone, has sold a 49 percent stake in the music and pop culture-focused glossy to BandLab Technologies.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed but the remaining 51 percent stake in the magazine is owned by parent company Wenner Media, which publishes Us Weekly and Men’s Journal as well as Rolling Stone.

BandLab, a Singapore-based social media and retail company, was cofounded by Meg Ru Kuok, the 28-year-old son of Kuok Khoon Hong, the billionaire founder of the world’s largest palm oil company, Wilmar International Ltd.

According to Wenner Media, through the partnership, Rolling Stone International, a fully owned subsidiary, will be formed to “build on the brand’s worldwide appeal and recognition.” Kuok will work with Rolling Stone’s New York-based team and lead Rolling Stone International, which will be headquartered in Singapore.

The deal comes after years of strife at the biweekly print magazine, which included company-wide layoffs, rumors of a reduction in frequency and lawsuits following the fallout from Rolling Stone’s campus rape story in 2014.

The magazine, which approaches its 50th anniversary, is also struggling, like its print-centric peers, in developing its digital and events business in the face of print advertising and circulation declines. Gus Wenner, Jann’s 26-year-old son, who is head of digital media, is charged with much of that new business development, and is said to be next in line to pick up the mantle when his father retires.

For his part, Gus Wenner expressed excitement in finding a strategic partner for Rolling Stone, adding: “We see an enormous opportunity to diversify the brand into new markets and new areas of business.”

Kuok, chief executive officer of BandLab, said: “Rolling Stone’s impact on culture over the years has been immeasurable and I’m truly honored to be joining the team on the next phase of its journey. I look forward to working closely with Gus to take the brand bravely into the future to realize its global potential.”

Currently, Rolling Stone publishes 12 international editions in Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico and Russia.

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