Thursday, April 15, 2021

VARIETY SOLD — SOMETHING TO FINKE ABOUT

October 10, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

“Penske Inks Socko Deal for Showbizzer Variety,” the headline might have read in the trade paper’s signature “slanguage” following Penske Media’s acquisition of the 107-year-old show-business trade publication at the fire-sale price of $25 million. Instead, it published the almost verve-less headline, “Penske Media Corp Acquires Variety.” The seller was Reed Business Information, which, it said, wanted to move “its corporate focus away from advertising-dependent businesses.” The trade noted that “financial specifics” of the deal were not disclosed. But other publications had already indicated that Penske’s offer of $25 million, as low as it might have appeared to some observers, surpassed those of other bidders. (It went for a reported $50 million when it was last sold in 1987.) In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Jay Penske indicated that RBI only agreed to the price “in the last few weeks, and only time will tell if it’s the right price.” He added, “I do believe we did the right deal, at the right price, and now it’s time to execute the plan.” He said he had a plan “to correct the recent deterioration of both revenues and profits” of Variety. Penske already owns a number of other online entertainment publications, including Nikki Finke’s Deadline.com. Asked by the Times whether Variety and Deadline will remain “separate and distinct websites,” Penske replied affirmatively. However, he added, “While many view Variety and Deadline as strict competitors, we see an incredible opportunity for future collaboration, while remaining editorially independent.” There was conspicuously no comment from Nikki Finke about the deal. Competitor TheWrap.com quoted an insider as saying that “tension” has arisen between Penske and her “because he would not give her a role running the trade.” The insider added, “She’s having a major tantrum because he won’t give her the keys.”