Variety Publisher Penske Media Acquires Majority of Rolling Stone, Wenner Media

Jay Penske and his company, PMC, have made their single largest investment ever to acquire controlling interests in Wenner Media, publishers of the definitive music magazine Rolling Stone and related digital assets, for $100 million. The companies said Wenner Media would retain "majority control and editorial oversight" of Rolling Stone. The competition was spirited for ownership of the magazine, and rival bidders reportedly included THR owner Todd Boehly's Eldridge Industries; the music producer Irving Azoff; and the Sinagpore-based BandLab, which bought a 49% interest in 2016 that it continues to hold.

Rolling Stone's well-known founder Jann Wenner, whose life has been defined by its relationship to the iconic magazine he launched 50 years ago, will be named editorial director.

Under the deal, New York-based Wenner Media will maintain editorial oversight of Rolling Stone, which will remain an independent authority on US pop culture and political coverage, the companies said in a statement.

Rolling Stone's parent company, Wenner Media, has a new corporate boss.

PMC owns Deadline Hollywood as well as Variety, Women's Wear Daily, IndieWire, and The Robb Report.

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It then sold two other titles it also owned to help pay off some long-term debts, before indicating in September that it was now considering bids for the other 51% of the business. Today, five decades later, Rolling Stone has evolved into a multi-platform brand, reaching over 60 million people per month.

Writers who found a home at Rolling Stone included P.J. Regardless, Wenner's print business flourished with the portfolio he had cultivated: Rolling Stone, Men's Journal and US Weekly. His name, however, was synonymous with Rolling Stone.

Wenner Media was represented by Methuselah Advisors and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP. But he'll still be able to keep a piece - presumably a small one - of the property that allowed him to become a media star himself.

Updated, 11:45 a.m., December 21 with details of a settlement reached over Rolling Stone's misreporting on a story of rape at the University of Virginia.

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