Penske Media Acquires Controlling Interest in Rolling Stone Magazine

Penske Media will buy Jann Wenner’s Rolling Stone magazine stake but Wenner is remaining on the board as the editorial director of the magazine.

Penske Media is the owner of Variety, IndieWire, and Women’s Wear Daily amongst other titles. Penske called its acquisition of Wenner Media a strategic investment in the company that has a 51% stake in the iconic magazine. The remaining 49% of Wenner Media is owned by startup BandLab Technologies.

The investment by Penske, announced on Wednesday, put a value of Wenner Media at just over $100 million, said a source close to the deal.

Wenner and son Gus will remain as shareholders. His son will remain as the COO and president at Wenner Media. There is uncertainty over the quantity of 51% Penske Media will now own

However, Penske Media’s Jay Penske indicated he would partner with the Wenner Media to maintain Rolling Stone as a thriving enterprise across several media platforms.

As have many publications, Rolling Stone had to adapt to today’s digital age and succeed in managing a drop in the printed product.

One insider said that initially the deal looks quite ideal for both Wenners due to them needing cash.

However, the same person was curious about what Penske will get for its money. If Penske does not have full control of editorial, what control will it have.

Penske Media announced it was going to support the magazine through providing infrastructure and expertise in digital media amongst other things.

Last September, both Wenners announced that they had put their stake of 51% in Rolling Stone magazine up for sale. Immediately several bidders took an interest and Penske was considered from the start the leading contender to buy the shares.

On Wednesday, Wenner in a prepared statement said that he was proud of the accomplishments the magazine has made the last 50 years. He knows that Penske Media will be a great match for the company and magazine to continue thriving in today’s digital media landscape.

An industry analyst on Wall Street said it was not surprising that Jann Wenner, who is 71, would continue having involvement through being the editorial director.

Ending involvement would be too hard for Wenner since he has such a connection on a personal basis to the Rolling Stone magazine.

Many outsiders wonder what the magazine will do to help attract more of an audience with the under 30 group or today’s digital groupies.

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