Trailblazing music and popular culture magazine Rolling Stone is putting itself up for sale.
Publisher Wenner Media – the majority shareholder – said it was exploring strategic options for its stake in the iconic magazine “to best position the brand for future growth”.
It comes after Jann Wenner, who launched the magazine in 1967 and now runs it with his 27-year-old son Gus, told The New York Times on Sunday: “I love my job, I enjoy it. I’ve enjoyed it for a long time.”
But he said selling now is “just the smart thing to do”.
The 71-year-old said he hoped to keep an editorial role at Rolling Stone, but that decision would be up to its new owner.
Musicians including The Beatles, Madonna, The Doors’ Jim Morrison, Lady Gaga and a naked John Lennon curled up on a bed next to his fully clothed wife Yoko Ono have featured on the magazine’s cover, as well as politicians including Barack Obama and even Pope Francis.
Image: Its covers have included the likes of former US president Barack Obama and the Pope
But the magazine’s reputation and finances suffered a blow when it retracted a 2014 story about an alleged gang rape at the University of Virginia.
“There’s a level of ambition that we can’t achieve alone,” said Mr Wenner’s son, Gus, who is president and CEO of Wenner Media. “So we are being proactive and want to get ahead of the curve.”
He said: “Publishing is a completely different industry than what it was. The trends go in one direction, and we are very aware of that.”
Confirming the sale later in a statement, Gus Wenner added: “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.”
Rolling Stone – which brings out 12 international editions reaching an audience of more than 65 million – last year sold a 49% stake to Singaporean music and technology start-up BandLab Technologies.
Wenner Media did not say which potential buyers it is in talks with.
Earlier this year it sold its other two titles – celebrity magazine US Weekly and lifestyle monthly Men’s Journal – to American Media Inc.