Rolling Stone Magazine Finds a Buyer
Several months after news broke that the magazine was searching for a buyer, Rolling Stone has changed hands as part of a deal that has the potential to safeguard the long-running publication's editorial voice.
As previously reported, publisher Jann Wenner recently decided it was time to step back from the magazine he co-founded in 1967 — and like many companies in the industry, Wenner Media had accrued an untenable amount of debt in recent years, thanks in part to struggles suffered by print publications across the board, and in part due to some costly and ultimately unprofitable business deals. Wenner had previously offloaded a number of under-performing titles, and although Jann and his son Gus expressed a desire to stay on after selling Rolling Stone, their continued involvement was far from guaranteed.
Now, Variety reports that the Penske Media Corporation — which also owns Variety — has agreed to pick up a roughly $100 million stake in Wenner Media, with the proviso that Wenner will continue to wield "majority control and editorial oversight" over Rolling Stone.
"Our interest in Rolling Stone is driven by its people, its cultural significance and the globally recognized brand that has no peer in its areas of influence," said Penske in a press release. "We believe that Penske Media is uniquely qualified to partner with the Wenners to ensure the brand continues to ascend for decades across multiple media platforms — we’re eager to get started."
The Wenners, for their part, appear to share Penske's enthusiasm. "We have such a unique and special product in Rolling Stone," said Gus Wenner, who remains president/COO of Wenner Media under the terms of the deal. "We are excited to build on its strong foundation and invest in its future through this partnership."
"I am so proud of our accomplishments over the past 50 years," added Jann Wenner, "and know Penske Media is the ideal match for us to thrive in today’s media landscape."