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Rolling Stone/PMC acquires Life is Beautiful festival

Penske Media subsidiary Rolling Stone has acquired a majority stake in Life is Beautiful, a music and arts festival held annually in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The festival was founded by the late entrepreneur Tony Hsieh in 2013, in a bid to revitalise the underserved downtown Las Vegas community.

In the nine years since, it has played host to 600-plus artists and more than one million fans, injecting upwards of US$350 million in economic impact and cultural capital into the local area.

The 2021 edition of the three-day festival, headlined by Billie Eilish, Green Day, and Tame Impala, was attended by an audience of more than 170,000, making it one of the highest-grossing events of its kind in the nation that year – despite the pandemic.

“There are  infinite  possibilities  to grow Life Is Beautiful in unique and impactful ways”

“Live events are an integral part of Rolling Stone’s future and Life Is Beautiful is an incredible platform to realise this vision,” says Rolling Stone CEO, Gus Wenner. “Coupled with our significant digital scale and deep journalism, there are infinite possibilities to grow Life Is Beautiful in unique and impactful ways. I am grateful to have worked with Tony on this partnership and am proud to have Rolling Stone help carry forward his mission.”

Rolling Stone and PMC plan to “expand Life Is Beautiful into new territories and broaden its digital footprint”. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“We are thrilled to realise the potential of Life Is Beautiful in partnership with Rolling Stone,” says David Oehm, CEO of Life Is Beautiful. “As a landmark institution and touchstone of the music industry for over 50 years, the Rolling Stone team will help to deepen our connection to fans of music everywhere, while also championing the cultural initiatives that make Life Is Beautiful so much more than a music festival.”

In addition to Rolling Stone, PMC is also the parent company for Billboard, Art in America, Deadline, Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, and Spy.com, among others. Last year, the company made a deal with SXSW (South by Southwest) that would make the media company a long-term partner and shareholder of the Austin new music festival.

PMC is headquartered in New York and Los Angeles with 14 offices worldwide.


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Penske Media gains full control of Rolling Stone

Jay Penske, chairman and chief executive of Penske Media Corporation (PMC), has purchased the remaining 49% of Rolling Stone, following a majority takeover in 2017.

The media and publishing entrepreneur now has complete ownership of the music brand, bringing to an end founder Jann Wenner’s 50 year ownership.

PMC bought up 51% of the magazine in December 2017, purchasing the rest from minority owner BandLab Technologies on 22 January. BandLab bought up the $40 million share in September 2016, overseeing an international subsidiary of the company focused on live events, merchandise and hospitality.

Panske’s media corporation owns other entertainment industry publications, including Variety, Deadline and Hollywood Life.

“The need to consolidate the Rolling Stone business has become abundantly clear”

Since 2017, PMC has taken the magazine monthly, redesigned the print edition and website and expanded the events component. The media corporation now has full control the famous brand, including its live event, licensing rights and international editions.

Penske informed staff of the news on Thursday, saying: “In the twelve months since PMC’s initial investment, the need to consolidate the Rolling Stone business has become abundantly clear and something that BandLab and their leadership team also recognised and were in full support of.”

PMC purchased the 49% Rolling Stone stake from Singaporean start-up BandLab Technologies,

Rolling Stone founder Wenner opened the doors to external investors in 2016 after many years of resistance, following a drop in advertisement revenues.


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