Penske Media Corp. is now the sole owner of Rolling Stone magazine.
PMC chairman and chief executive officer Jay Penske revealed in a memo that he’s purchased the remaining 49 percent stake in the music and culture title from BandLab Technologies. The deal comes almost exactly a year after PMC, which also owns WWD, took a controlling 51 percent stake in the 50-year-old outlet for an undisclosed price based on a valuation of around $100 million. The consolidation under PMC includes all event and licensing rights and the affiliate Rolling Stone International, but a price for the deal was not disclosed. A company representative declined to comment on the price paid.
In the memo, Penske said the consolidation took effect last week and that the need for such a move “has become abundantly clear” since Rolling Stone came into PMC. He added BandLab, a Singapore-based music-focused company started in 2014 by Meng Ru Kuok, the son of palm oil billionaire Kuok Khoon Hong, “also recognized” the need for consolidation under PMC and were “in full support of” the move.
“It’s with their confidence and blessing that we were able to put together a deal that was best for all parties,” Penske added in the note. “We continue to have shared goals and will collaborate in the future. This strategic transaction is a key move for what will be many years of future growth and expansion of Rolling Stone, both domestically and abroad.”
Since PMC took a controlling stake in Rolling Stone, the outlet has made some changes. Along with a number of new creative and editorial hires, it’s moved to a monthly print schedule from the twice-monthly one it printed on for decades. The company is also branching out of other habits, like working with the same freelancers and contract photographers, as evidenced by its January cover — the first to be shot by a black photographer. Also said to be coming is an online subscription for a revamped digital product and there is work being done to launch live events.
While Jann Wenner, who cofounded the magazine in 1967 as a music and culture publication that eventually expanded to include politics, is still the publication’s editorial director, one of his sons, Gus Wenner, is the day-to-day leader, serving as president and chief operating officer of Wenner Media. Jason Fine is the editor in chief.