Singapore Music Startup, BandLab Acquires 49% Share Of Rolling Stone
The owning company of music brand Rolling Stone magazine has accepted an offer for a 49 percent share in the business from a Singapore based startup called BandLab which is attempting to boost its international exposure.
Wenner Media which is head-quarted in the U.S. said over the weekend that it would be selling a stake in its magazine to BandLab however it did not state the price agreed by the two firms. BandLab is headed by 28-year-old Meng Ru Kuok, the son of Kuok Khoon Hong, a billionaire who earned his wealth through palm oil. This isn’t the first acquisition by the company however, Swee Lee was purchased in 2012 which distributes musical instruments such as guitars. The startup also added instrument design company Mono last week.
In a statement BandLab stated that it plans to “focus on expanding Rolling Stone’s business in new markets, and propelling the brand’s global evolution.”
This will see the formation of Rolling Stone International, which will oversee the acquired stake in the business and manage merchandising, live events and hospitality with an aim to grow the brand further away from its current editorial basis. Management of the magazine will still be within Wenner’s control.
Numbers reported by Rolling Stone outline nearly 12 million readers of its print publication whilst it has a digital audience of more than 65 million users online.
The deal marks a significant point for Wenner as it heads towards its 50th anniversary, previously the company has not allowed any external investors into the business.
Kuok, who was negotiating the deal over an 18 month period said to Bloomberg that he believes there are “plenty of synergies” between the two owning companies.
“We are focused on the consumer and the supply chain of music, and innovative business models around music that exist today. At the end of the day, the end consumer is the same. BandLab’s goal is to be a global music business,” he said.
BandLab has already expanded Swee Lee’s 70 year-old business making it a place to learn how to play musical instruments as well as buy instruments and merchandising.