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Rolling Stone for Sale, Legendary Co-Founder Jann Wenner Says

Rolling Stone, the bible of rock 'n' roll for a half-century, is for sale, Jann Wenner, the magazine's swaggering co-founder, said Sunday.

The New York Times first reported the intended sale of Wenner's 51 percent stake on Sunday. Wenner's company, Wenner Media, confirmed the report Sunday night, saying in a statement that it was looking at "strategic options ... to best position the brand for future growth."

Image: Jann Wenner
Rolling Stone editor and publisher Jann Wenner at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in Los Angeles in 2013. AP

"I love my job, I enjoy it, I've enjoyed it for a long time," Wenner, 71, told The Times. But selling now is "just the smart thing to do," he said.

Since he co-founded it with Ralph Gleason in 1967, Rolling Stone and Wenner have been synonymous, writing the history of rock 'n' roll in a style equal parts reverent and irreverent, promoted by some of the most famous covers in American publishing history. Gleason died in 1975.

Along the way, it published some of the most important political and investigative writers of the last 50 years, as well, among them Hunter S. Thompson, whose "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" made its debut in the magazine in 1971; Washington insider Joe Klein, the author of "Primary Colors"; conservative provocateur P.J. O'Rourke; and Tom Wolfe.

In June, the magazine settled a defamation lawsuit brought by a fraternity at the University of Virginia, which said its 2014 investigation "A Rape on Campus" was significantly false.

December 2014: UVA Students Speak Out About Rolling Stone Article 1:51

In a long report published in Rolling Stone, Steve Coll, dean of the Columbia University School of Journalism and former managing editor of The Washington Post, declared the article a "failure of journalism."

Wenner sold 49 percent of his stake in Rolling Stone in 2013 to a digital music startup. He recently sold the company's other magazines, Us Weekly and Men's Journal, to American Media Inc., publisher of The National Enquirer.

"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 and grow the business exponentially," said Wenner's son Gus Wenner, the company's president and chief operating officer, whom The Times credited with engineering the planned sale.