Apparently not many potential suitors are flocking to Jann Wenner’s door to buy his beloved Rolling Stone magazine. In fact according to reports, non of the major publishers like Time Inc, Conde Nast and Hearst to name a few seem to be interested in scooping up the dying publication. Not even American Media Inc which just acquired two of Wenner’s other titles, Us Weekly and Men’s Journal is expected to even look at at Rolling Stone. What is driving this reported lack of interest from the usual suspects is the fact that Rolling Stone should’ve probably discontinued its print edition years ago and embraced all thing digital. The print edition today is a skeletal version of its former self. The magazine looks and feels more like a medical office supplement compared to its oversized book days. Some blame founder Jann Wenner for clinging to the magazine ignoring the dismal print forecast over the years and for moving slow to embrace the internet and now that failure to embrace the new, new is coming home to roost as Rolling Stone continues to lose money.
It is expected that Wenner Media’s remaining 51% stake in Rolling Stone could possibly sell for $80 million. But if not Conde Nast which owns music site Pitchfork, or Time Inc, or Hearst which owns Complex Network, then who will buy the iconic publication? Word is a suitor is probably more likely to come from the tech or digital side. Names on the digital media side includes the usual suspect like Buzzfeed, Vice and Vox Media. We see Vice as the better fit out of that bunch being that it already owns some music properties like Noisey and Thump. But wait, what about The Hollywood Reporter/Billboard Media Group (HRBMG)? In December 2016, the group acquired Spin Media’s music websites like Spin, Vibe and Stereogum. Adding the iconic Rolling Stone to the stable could be a major boost, increasing the company’s market share and putting a feather in its hat. But HRBMG has been exploring a sale itself off and own for a couple years and is said to have once come close to a deal with Conde Nast before negotiations fell apart.
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