Rolling Stone Sells 49 Percent to Singapore-Based Company BandLab

“Everyone is trying to figure out the new business model,” Gus Wenner tells Wall Street Journal

Last Updated: September 26, 2016 @ 8:12 AM

Rolling Stone sold a 49 percent stake to Singapore-based social music company BandLab Technologies Ltd., according to multiple media reports.

The deal, reported by both the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg, includes the magazine and its digital assets, but does not include ownership in Rolling Stone’s corporate parent, Wenner Media LLC.

Terms were of the deal not disclosed.

The WSJ said, “Many publishers are seeking to broaden their portfolios to become less dependent on print advertising revenue.”

A Rolling Stone spokesperson told WSJ that the magazines ad pages declined 14 percent between January and August compared, to the same period a year ago.

“Everyone is trying to figure out the new business model,” Wenner Media executive Gus Wenner told the WSJ. “We have the quality that most matters, a brand that means something to people and elicits an emotional response.”

“It’s a big moment,” Wenner told Bloomberg in a separate interview. “There is a great opportunity to take that brand and apply it into new and different areas and markets.”

Gus’ father, Jann Wenner, is Rolling Stone’s co-founder, editor and publisher.

Rolling Stone and BandLab will form a new Singapore subsidiary called Rolling Stone International, according to the paper. BandLab’s 28-year-old CEO and co-founder Meng Ru Kuok will lead the project, which is expected to include Rolling Stone’s 12 international licensees.

“Our strength is local knowledge,” Ru Kuok told the WSJ. “Rolling Stone is pushing digital, and we’re excited to push the physical experiences around the brand.”