Penske Buys 'Variety,' Extends Cross-Platform
Variety, the storied weekly and daily trade magazine covering the entertainment business, has been acquired by Jay Penske’s
Penske Media Corp., which owns several other (Web-based) entertainment-focused trade publications, including Deadline Hollywood and Movieline.
Penske bought Variety from Reed Elsevier for around $25 million, with backing from private-equity firm Third Point LLC, according to media reports. Terms of the deal were not officially disclosed. Reed purchased the 107-year-old magazine in 1987.
Penske stated that he intended to extend Variety’s presence “across Web, broadcast, mobile and international
This is the latest in a series of divestments of trade publications by Reed Elsevier, including media-focused B2B titles like Publishers Weekly and Broadcasting & Cable. The company originally put its entire trade division up for sale in 2007, but withdrew in 2008 after failing to receive viable offers. Since then, the number of trade titles published by Reed has declined from over 400 to under 100.
A number of other Hollywood trade publications have traded hands in recent years.
In 2009, Nielsen sold
Nielsen Business Media propertie, including The Hollywood Reporter and Billboard to e5 Global Media, later renamed Prometheus Global Media; e5 also bought Adweek and
Mediaweek as part of the same deal.
Like their consumer cousins, B2B publications are having a tough time when it comes to their core print advertising business. According to American Business Media’s Business Information Network, total ad pages fell almost 8.3% from 317,108 in the first half of 2011 to 290,879 in the first half of 2012. Total advertising revenues fell 4.1% to $3.74 billion over the same period, also according to BIN data.