Singapore's BandLab to buy 49 percent of Rolling Stone

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Singapore’s BandLab Technologies will buy 49 percent of Rolling Stone magazine from publisher Wenner Media and plans to expand the business into new markets and boost its profile in Asia, the two companies said in a statement.

The acquisition could lift the music magazine’s brand in Asia, where its name does not go as far. It also highlights the struggles of the publishing industry as advertising revenues fall in an increasingly competitive online age.

BandLab, led and co-founded by Kuok Meng Ru, the 28-year-old son of Singaporean palm oil tycoon Kuok Khoon Hong, is a group of companies making products for music creators and fans.

The statement gave no financial details of the deal.

“We see an enormous opportunity to diversify the brand into new markets and new areas of business,” Gus Wenner, head of digital of Wenner Media, said in the statement.

Rolling Stone publishes 12 international editions in Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico and Russia, and says it reaches an audience of over 65 million people.

The magazine is also known for edgy reporting typified by correspondents like Matt Taibbi, who skewered Wall Street titans during the global financial crisis, and the late Hunter S. Thompson, originator of the gonzo style of first-person journalism.

Reporting by Marius Zaharia; Editing by Stephen Coates