By Ronald Grover
LOS ANGELES Oct 9 Variety, the century-old
entertainment trade newspaper once considered the bible of the
movie industry, has been sold to online publisher Jay Penske and
private equity firm Third Point LLC, the companies said on
Penske Media Corp and Third Point paid about $25 million to
buy the money-losing, 107-year-old newspaper from medical and
technical publisher Reed Elsevier, according to two
sources with knowledge of the deal. Variety was put up for sale
Penske, 33, the youngest son of racing legend and
businessman Roger Penske, built an online entertainment empire
buying sites including MovieLine.com and the celebrity site
HollywoodLife.com. The most visible property of his Penske Media
Corp is DeadlineHollywood.com, bought in 2009 and run by founder
Nikki Finke, considered Hollywood's most influential blogger.
Finke is expected to advise Penske on the remaking of
Variety, which loses an estimated $10 million a year, according
to one of the sources.
One option being considered is trimming Variety's staff,
making it a daily rather than a weekly, and running longer trend
pieces, the sources said. Variety could be twinned with
DeadlineHollywood.com under Finke, whose site has built a
reputation for breaking industry news, they said.
In a statement, Penske said his company planned to "rapidly
build upon Variety's foundation, while extending this invaluable
brand's presence across web, broadcast, mobile and international
Variety President Neil Stiles said Penske Media was
"uniquely positioned to preserve and build the market presence
Billionaire Ron Burkle and New York hedge fund Avenue
Capital, owner of the National Enquirer newspaper, were early
bidders for Variety with offers around $25 million, said two
sources with knowledge of the earlier process.