Penske Media Buys 'Variety' for $25 Million

The Santa Monica-based digital media company already owns Deadline.com. CEO tells the Los Angeles Times the two publications will continue as "separate and distinct entities."

The Hollywood trade paper Variety has been acquired by Santa Monica-based Penske Media Corp. and its financial backer, hedge fund Third Point, for about $25 million, it was reported today.

Penske already owns Deadline.com, the website in just six years has become a dominant news source for show business professionals and, together with online competitor Wrap and a resurgent Hollywood Reporter, has stolen much of the thunder that belonged to Variety for its 107-year history, the Los Angeles Times reported in an article on its website.

The fact that Penske, a digital media company headed by Chief Executive Jay Penske, won a nearly seven-month long auction held by Variety's British owner, Reed Elsevier, signifies how dominant a force the Internet has become in Hollywood.

While Variety competes online, its five-day-a-week daily edition and weekly magazine are no longer the must-reads in Hollywood that they once were, according to the Times.

Penske told the Times he believes Variety faltered due to complacency, but he intends to make it "absolutely fundamental and indispensable" to its readers in Hollywood. He has not yet determined, however, what key changes he will make, including whether he will stop publishing either or both print editions, the Times reported.

But he says Deadline and Variety will continue as separate and distinct entities, though some staffers may contribute to both.


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