Deadline Owners, Penske Media Corporation, Purchase Variety

     October 9, 2012

pmc-variety-sliceAnd the trade pool grows a little smaller.  Penske Media Corporation (PMC), the parent of, has purchased struggling Variety.  Variety has been around since 1905, but had faced financial difficulties in the digital age, and throwing up a paywall around their site has not helped the company.  This opened the door to PMC snatching up the trade publication, and raising a large question about what the future holds for Variety, specifically with regards to the editorial control of Deadline founder, President, and Editor-in-Chief Nikki Finke.  Deadline reporter Mike Fleming, who previously worked for Variety, said he “would be surprised, for instance, if Variety continues behind a pay wall, or continues to exist in its current form as a daily and weekly print publication.”  I’m curious to know what happens with regards to exclusives in terms of where they’ll be reported, and I’m also wondering how Deadline will continue to reshape the industry reporting landscape.  Presumably, the latter will involve claiming press releases as exclusives, covering up erroneous stories instead of printing corrections, claiming beautiful women aren’t funny, and openly wondering how mass murders might affect box office.

Hit the jump for the press release.

daily-variety-front-pageHere’s the press release:

October 9, 2012 – LOS ANGELES – Penske Media Corporation (“PMC”), a leading digital media and publishing company, announced today it had purchased Variety from Reed Business Information, part of Reed Elsevier. Terms of the asset purchase agreement between the parties were not disclosed.

Jay Penske, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of PMC, said, “Since 1905, Variety has been the world’s premier entertainment news source, and is today one of the most recognized global media brands. We are thrilled to welcome Variety and its exceptional team into the PMC organization. As part of this significant acquisition, we plan to rapidly build upon Variety’s foundation while extending this invaluable brand’s presence across the web, broadcast, mobile, and international markets.”

“We are enthusiastic that PMC will become the new steward of the great Variety franchise, which Reed Elsevier has built over the past 25 years, and the Silverman family for the 80 years before that,” said Neil Stiles, President of Variety. He added, “PMC is uniquely positioned to preserve and build the market presence of Variety. Their shared values and complementary assets provides for many new opportunities for the business model and brand.”

For more than a century, Variety has set the standard for comprehensive and relevant entertainment industry news, with resolute attention to the highest journalistic standards. The Variety business today includes Daily Variety, Weekly Variety, Conferences & Events, along with’s searchable archives, interactive box office charting, credits database, film and television data business, in-depth industry calendar, and reviews dating back to 1914.

Mark Kelsey, CEO of Reed Business Information, said: “Variety is an iconic title serving the film and entertainment industry for more than 100 years. With RBI’s increasing focus on data services, it makes sense for us to sell the Variety business. Variety has an incredibly talented team who have successfully innovated and expanded the franchise in industry news and analysis. I have no doubt the business will continue to thrive under PMC’s ownership.”

“We couldn’t be more excited to now operate two of the finest brands in business of entertainment category,” said Nic Paul, SVP Entertainment Sales at PMC. He added, “’s supremacy in breaking news, and Variety’s extraordinary content and industry analysis, coupled with readership that combines key industry decision makers and influencers, creates a compelling value proposition for our partners and advertisers.”

Debt and equity financing for the transaction was provided by affiliates of Third Point LLC. Evercore Partners advised Reed Elsevier on the sale transaction.

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