Robb Report Now Has 2 Gilded Owners

Dan Gilbert and Jay Penske.

RobbReport_Oct2016CoverIn 2014, around this same end-of-year time, Dan Gilbert’s Detroit-based equity firm Rockbridge Growth Equity purchased Malibu-based luxury publication Robb Report. For a rumored $60 million.

This week, another person who can afford the cars and other items lavishly displayed in the monthly magazine has come on board. In a deal announced late this week and set to formally close in the first week of January, Jay Penske’s Penske Media Corporation has struck a joint partnership with Rockbridge designed primarily to help grow the publication on the digital side. From the announcement:

“To bring Robb Report onto the PMC digital platform is a remarkable opportunity to further propel this pioneering media brand,” says PMC chairman and CEO Jay Penske.

Adds Brian Hermelin, managing partner for Rockbridge Growth Equity: “The partnership with PMC will accelerate and drive Robb Report’s future growth. The joint venture and PMC’s investment allows us to focus our combined energies on expanding Robb Report’s digital capabilities as well as continuing to improve its print distribution channels and event activation to deliver optimal consumer and advertiser experiences.”

RobbReport_October1979CoverUnder this new partnership, Robb Report’s New York operations will move into PMC headquarters at 475 Fith Avenue, while the publication’s Malibu staff will be transferred to the PMC Tower in west Los Angeles.

Robb Report recently celebrated its 40th anniversary with a special October print issue and lots of fun look-back content online. The magazine started out as a repository of advertisements for new and used Rolls-Royces.

In one of the anniversary pieces, magazine editors selected their favorite luxuries from the past 40 years. These include California red wine Screaming Eagle, launched in 1992, and a more recent brand of designer jeans:

In 2011, competitive golfer turned denim doyen Scott Morrison founded 3×1, a game-changing brand that takes an atelier-style approach to jeans. At his Manhattan flagship store, 22 seamsters work in a glass-enclosed space in view of customers. They handcraft made-to-measure and bespoke jeans with material from the store’s “denim wall” of more than 70 selvage varieties sourced from around the world.

His revolutionary concept has brought a much-needed level of excellence to the wardrobe essential, appealing to such clients as NBA stars LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony and Nike CEO Mark Parker. What I [assistant editor Anush Benliyan] like best about 3×1 is that the company keeps a record of your bespoke design—so when it comes time to say good-bye to your favorite jeans because they’ve faded, you can replace them with a fresh, replicate pair that is as perfect as the old jeans once were.

Speaking of athletes and luxury spoils, former Yankee great Reggie Jackson, in another Robb Report 40th anniversary slide show, laments a prized possession that he sold. “It’s something I still greatly regret,” he says of that counseled decision.

Pictured: October 2016 and October 1979 covers (click to enlarge)