Rolling Stone magazine put up for sale

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Rolling Stone magazines

The publisher of Rolling Stone has hoisted a for sale sign over the 50-year-old magazine.

Founder Jann Wenner plans to sell his controlling stake in the music and pop culture publication, telling the New York Times that letting go was the "smart thing to do".

Rolling Stone, which was founded in Mr Wenner's loft in 1967, has been grappling with the pressures on the publishing industry, as advertising spend is diverted from print to online.

The 71-year-old, who runs Wenner Media with his 27-year-old son Gus Wenner, said the pair hoped to remain at Rolling Stone, but the decision would lie with the new owner.

It comes after Wenner Media recently sold magazines Us Weekly and Men's Journal, while also offloading a 49% stake in Rolling Stone to Singapore-based BandLab Technologies last year.

"There's a level of ambition that we can't achieve alone," Mr Wenner, president of the media group, told the New York Times.

"So we are being proactive and want to get ahead of the curve.

"Publishing is a completely different industry than what it was. The trends go in one direction, and we are very aware of that."

Artists such as Paul McCartney, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift have all featured on the front cover of the US magazine.

It also became renowned for its political coverage in the 1970s through the "gonzo" journalism of Hunter S Thompson.

The author's most famous work - Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas - was originally published in the magazine.

However, the publication was left financially bruised when it had to retract a 2014 story focusing on an alleged gang rape at the University of Virginia.