A Singapore Billionaire’s Son Now Owns 49% of Rolling Stone

A start up from Singapore has just purchased a significant stake in the pop culture magazine Rolling Stone.

Singapore-based BandLab Technologies, a collaborative music online platform, bought a 49% stake of the influential American print and online magazine

Set to celebrate its 49 years in circulation this November, Rolling Stone claims that its site currently enjoys 22 million monthly users. RollingStone.com reportedly grew its monthly unique visitors in the first half of 2016 by 40% compared to the same time last year. Total paid circulation for the print magazine is at 1.4 million. 

According to Bloomberg (via Tech in Asia), editorial operations will remain under the same management and Bandlab will not be involved in it. It will, however, create a subsidiary called Rolling International, which will “develop live events, merchandising and hospitality” around the world.

BandLab founder Kuok Meng Ru, the third son of billionaire agriculture magnate Kuok Khoon Hong, has acquired several music-related startups over the years. The 28-year-old also purchased musical instrument retailer Swee Lee Music, the music-making app for iOS and web, Composr, and Mono Creators, a firm that produces instrument cases and accessories.

The Rolling Stone deal, which took 15 months to finalize, is seen by the entrepreneur as a good fit for the business he envisioned and hopes someday to provide all things music to clients.

“It became much bigger than what we began with,’’ Kuok told Bloomberg News. “It was really more of a meeting of minds and visions and long-term partnership that made it possible.’’

Gus Wenner, the company’s head of digital and business heir, is just as elated about the development.

“When Meng expressed interest in partnership, we began to really spend time together and talk about our visions and our interests, and just kind of hit it off,’’ he was quoted as saying. “It became clear that this was really the partner we could do all those things with.”

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