Entertainment

Rolling Stone magazine up for sale


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The publisher of Rolling Stone has announced it has put its controlling stake in the magazine up for sale.

The 50 year-old magazine is best known for covering music and popular culture, but also features political journalism and commentary.

Founder Jan Wenner started the magazine in San Francisco in 1967 with music critic Ralph Gleason.

It has remained under the control of his company, Wenner Media, since then.

Rolling Stone has been a fixture of music commentary and US political life for decades.

But it is also well known for its iconic front covers, which were for many years the ultimate symbol of a music act’s success and relevance.

Musicians ranging from the Doors’ Jim Morrison to Madonna and Lady Gaga have graced the cover, but so have presidents, actors and even Popes.

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Perhaps the most famous was Annie Leibowitz’s photo of Beatles lead singer John Lennon curled up naked next to his fully-clothed wife, the musician and artist Yoko Ono.

In part, the cover became famous because John Lennon was murdered just hours after the picture was taken.

The magazine also nurtured a generation of well-known music critics such as Lester Bangs, and social and political writers such as Tom Wolfe, Hunter S Thompson and PJ O’Rourke.

However, its reputation for strong journalism suffered a blow after it published a false story in 2014 about an alleged rape on campus at the University of Virginia,

It retracted the story in 2015, and paid out a defamation settlement.

Strategic move

Recently, the magazine has been facing a tougher business environment, as the entire publishing industry adapts to a more digitally engaged readership.

However, the company said Rolling Stone still reached 60 million readers a month and its digital and social media footprint was growing rapidly.

Wenner Media said it was exploring “strategic options” in an effort “to best position the brand for future growth”.

The company has already sold off its other titles Us Weekly and Men’s Journal to American Media, the publisher of the National Enquirer.

“We have made great strides transforming Rolling Stone into a multi-platform company, and we are thrilled to find the right home to build on our strong foundation,” said Wenner’s president and chief operating officer Gus Wenner in a statement.

The statement did not say if the company was already in talks with potential buyers.

Singapore-based BandLab Technologies also owns a 49% stake in the publication.



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