The 29-year-old Singaporean shareholder of Rolling Stone wants to buy out the iconic magazine and add it to his growing music empire.
Kuok Meng Ru, the son of an agribusiness tycoon, already owns a 49% stake in Rolling Stone, now, he wants the rest, Bloomberg reports.
The Cambridge University-educated mathematician and guitar aficionado is the brain behind Bandlab Technologies, a cloud-based service launched in 2015 for musicians and fans to create and share songs.
But the third child of Kuok Khoon Hong, co-founder of the world’s largest palm-oil firm and one of Asia’s wealthiest magnates, has loftier ambitions; he wants to build his own global music enterprise. He already owns a London-based video-streaming service, a Singaporean guitar retailer, and a San Francisco-based music merchandise company.
After acquiring his 49% holding in Rolling Stone for a reported $40 million, Kuok pioneered Rolling Stone International, and quickly expanded the magazine’s operations with a partner in Japan, Bloomberg says.
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The magazine’s 71-year-old co-founder, Jann Wenner, announced last September that he was putting the controlling 51% of the magazine up for sale.
But Kuok will have to join a growing queue. At least three other bidders are reportedly vying for the title, according to Recode.
Established in 1967, Rolling Stone saw its heyday in the 70’s and 80’s, making its mark with lengthy interviews, celebrity-graced covers and provocative emerging writers like gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson and iconoclast Tom Wolfe. But the counterculture bible long eschewed a digital model. Editor-in-chief Wenner notoriously proclaimed in 2011 that it would take “a generation at least, maybe two” before readers abandoned print.