Among the many fascinating revelations in the New York magazine feature by Benjamin Wallace (pictured) about the evolution of Nikki Finke’s relationship with Jay Penske is the way she helped her PMC boss drive down the acquisition price of Variety, the property that would eventually prove to be their Deadline Hollywood undoing:
Finke says she advised Penske on how to game the bidding by telling friendly reporters the other bidders were overpaying for it, in order to scare them off. Soon after a Los Angeles Times article to this effect was published, Ron Burkle dropped out.[Editor’s note: Burkle reportedly walked away after his substantially lower offer than Penske’s eventual purchase price was rejected.]
Adding to the noteworthiness of this particular New York magazine passage is the fact that the LAT article in question appears to have been written by none other than Patrick Goldstein, author of a Los Angeles magazine profile of Finke and co. that went online last Thursday. In the portion of the Los Angeles magazine article where Goldstein discloses his personal relationships with trade players, he begins the summary of his Nikki dealings with, ‘Finke and I have been friendly for years.’ Apparently so.
While Goldstein’s “Pulp Friction” shines an interesting insider’s light on players like new Variety film editor Claudia Eller and rambunctious TheWrap film reporter Jeff Sneider, it lags far behind Wallace’s “Free Nikki Finke!” in the Finke-Penske tidbits department. The New York contributor spoke with Finke more than a dozen times, over the span of several months.
Goldstein’s article is also, crucially, no longer correct about Finke and Penske never having met in person. For the details about that and so much more, read or pick up the New York article.
Also worth noting: Wallace’s feature offers up a staggering three new photos of the elusive Finke.[Photo of Wallace courtesy: benjaminwallace.net]