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Penske Media Acquires $100 Million Controlling Interest in Rolling Stone Publisher Wenner Media

The deal was announced December 20.

Rolling Stone Magazine Cover Lorde

Creative Commons

The parent company of Rolling Stone magazine, Wenner Media, will receive a $100 million investment from Penske Media Corporation, IndieWire’s publisher. Transaction details were announced today, three months after publisher Jann Wenner revealed plans to sell the controlling stake of the music and literary institution he co-founded half a century ago. Per the transaction, Wenner will become editorial director of Rolling Stone, and his son, Gus, will remain its president and chief operating officer, while also joining PMC’s advisory board.

“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 PMC chairman and CEO Jay Penske. “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.”

Wenner Media will maintain majority control over the magazine and continue to dictate its editorial vision. Jann Wenner called the partnership “an ideal match,” while Gus Wenner said, “We are thrilled for this opportunity to grow our business together.”

In September 2016, Wenner Media sold a 49 percent stake in Rolling Stone to BandLab Technologies, a startup for making and sharing music based in Singapore. Until earlier this year, Wenner Media published US Weekly and Men’s Journal in addition to Rolling Stone; both were picked up by American Media, the home of the National Enquirer. Rolling Stone reaches a reported audience of 60 million people per month through its platforms. 

PMC oversees more than 18 brands, including Variety, Deadline, and WWD.

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