Wenner Media LLC is offloading a minority stake in its flagship Rolling Stone magazine in hopes that the new capital will propel the pop culture publication's growth in international markets.
Rolling Stone announced on Sept. 26 that it has agreed to sell its 49% stake for an undisclosed sum to Singapore's BandLab Technologies Ltd., a music sharing startup.
The new investment will allow the publication to expand into new markets, particularly overseas. As part of the transaction, Rolling Stone and BandLab are forming a new entity called Rolling Stone International to focus on the publication's global expansion.
BandLab's co-founder, Meng Ru Kuok, will be leading Rolling Stone International, which will be headquartered in Singapore. Kuok is the son of oil tycoon Kuok Khoon Hong.
"We see an enormous opportunity to diversify the brand into new markets and new areas of business," said Gus Wenner, head of digital of Wenner Media, in a statement.
The companies touted their strategic alignment in the announcement. Kuok said he will be working closely with Wenner, the son of Wenner Media founder Jann Wenner, to take Rolling Stone to its next growth stage.
New York-based Wenner Media also publishes US Weekly and Men's Journal magazines.
Founded in 1967, Rolling Stone grew its reputation as a leading music, pop culture and political news publication partly through housing famous journalists including Hunter Thompson, Michael Hastings and Matt Taibbi.
But like most print publications across the country, Rolling Stone has also been grappling with declining readership because of the Internet. Still, Rolling Stone reaches a global audience of more than 65 million, including approximately 22 million domestic digital monthly readers. In fact, RollingStone.com's revenue has grown more than 90% from 2013 to 2016, the publication said.