Business Insider spoke to more than 30 insiders about how Jay Penske has shrugged off scandal to become a media powerhouse
He has movie-star good looks, a former Victoria's Secret model wife, and a billionaire father.
Now Jay Penske can lay claim to the second-largest audience in digital publishing in the US.
On September 23, Penske Media Corporation, or PMC, which owns Rolling Stone, Variety, and Women's Wear Daily, announced it would take control of The Hollywood Reporter, Billboard, and Vibe as part of a joint venture with the entertainment company MRC. The new entity will be called PMRC. The move will create a near-monopoly on Hollywood industry news — and put PMC ahead of publishers like Meredith, Condé Nast, and BuzzFeed, with a Comscore ranking second only to Hearst's.
Over the past 16 years, Penske, 41, the youngest son of the automobile tycoon Roger Penske, has quietly built a media empire, amassing more than 20 titles. But the reformed playboy — who's said to have a personal friendship with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman — wasn't always destined to be a media hero.
In 2018, Penske faced criticism for accepting a $200 million investment from the Saudi Research and Marketing Group. This past June, Ben Affleck attended a Black Lives Matter march in Los Angeles toting a sign that condemned Penske for purchasing a historical Black church to convert into a megamansion for his family.
But while he made headlines, his company made money.
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