Business News Deals Media

Penske Media takes complete control of Rolling Stone

By | Published on Friday 1 February 2019

Rolling Stone

Your good friends over there at that Penske Media Corporation have bought up the remaining 49% of Rolling Stone, meaning the media firm now wholly owns the iconic music magazine. And why not, say I.

Penske bought 51% of Rolling Stone off the magazine’s founder Jann Wenner in late 2017. Wenner had previously sold 49% to Singapore-based BandLab Technologies, meaning that for the last year or so the title has been co-owned by the two companies. But now Penske has confirmed it has bought BandLab out of the title giving it complete control.

In a memo to staff, Penske boss Jay Penske wrote: “In the twelve months since PMC’s initial investment into this incredible team and legendary brand, the need to consolidate the Rolling Stone business has become abundantly clear and something that BandLab and their leadership team also recognised and were in full support of”.

“It’s with their confidence and blessing that we were able to put together a deal that was best for all parties”, he went on. “We continue to have shared goals and will continue to collaborate in the future. This strategic transaction is a key move for what will be many years of future growth and expansion for Rolling Stone, both domestically and abroad”.

Rolling Stone, like most music media, has faced the challenge of making money out of an audience that is increasingly online. It’s no secret that magazine owners have found it hard to charge for digital content, while on the advertising side Google and Facebook have proven to be major competitors for ad spend. All of which means that media owners have had to try to find – and develop – other ways to generate income around their content and brands.

When PMC first acquired half of Rolling Stone, Wenner’s son Gus said of the deal: “Rolling Stone’s past, present and future is in great storytelling and that’s where we want to put our investment. Jay has shown repeatedly that he has a deep belief in investing in content and investing in the product. This will allow us to do that in a way we haven’t been able to do over the last couple of years”.