Date
23 January 2017
Rolling Stone has steadily lost advertising and readership to nimbler online alternatives. Photo: Mashable
Rolling Stone has steadily lost advertising and readership to nimbler online alternatives. Photo: Mashable

Rolling Stone selling large chunk to Singapore scion

Rolling Stone, the iconic pop culture magazine, is for sale — 49 percent of it.

After five-decade run full of interviews with pop stars and presidents, its founder is selling a big chunk of the business to an Asian scion, according to Bloomberg.

Rolling Stone is selling 49 percent of the magazine to an Asian billionaire’s son.

It’s the first time Jan Wenner has admitted an outside investor, a deal that encapsulates the plight of an industry fighting to stay relevant in an online age.

Wenner Media LLC also owns Us Weekly and Men’s Journal.

Founded in 1967, Rolling Stone became a fixture of American pop culture, helping launch the careers of writers and creative artists over almost 50 years.

But like many of its peers, the magazine has steadily lost advertising and readership to nimbler online alternatives.

In 2014, Wenner tasked his son Gus with devising a digital strategy.

Now Wenner, who started Rolling Stone from a San Francisco warehouse, plans to relinquish as much of his magazine as possible without ceding control.

“It’s a big moment,’’ Gus Wenner, the company’s head of digital, said in a phone interview.

“There is a great opportunity to take that brand and apply it into new and different areas and markets.”

The new investor is Singapore-based BandLab Technologies, a budding digital music concern founded by the 28-year-old scion of one of Asia’s richest families. Kuok Meng Ru, the third son of Singapore-based agribusiness tycoon Kuok Khoon Hong.

The startup is funded by private investors, including Kuok’s father and JamHub Corp., a maker of audio mixers.

“Our growth in digital has been fantastic, but long term, my dad and myself recognize that in order to truly grow and truly transform the business — and we have this incredible brand in Rolling Stone that means so much,” they needed a partner in Asia, Wenner said.

– Contact us at [email protected]

CG/RA

EJI Weekly Newsletter