Variety Publisher Ridicules Latest Takeover Rumor

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By Richard Horgan Comment

Today’s gossip item by Richard Johnson at The Daily quotes only an unnamed “insider.” And it does not specify what realm of the Hollywood media or business firmament that insider toils in.

Still, the idea of Variety being acquired by Nikki Finke’s boss, 30-year-old wunderkind Jay Penske, is enough to make former grand poobah Peter Bart lose his Hillcrest Country Club lunch. To The Daily‘s credit, they actually ran this one by the folks on Wilshire Blvd.:

“He is working on a deal, and the numbers seem consistent based on online and print and profits,” one insider told Flash yesterday. But Variety Group president Neil Stiles (pictured) said, “Nonsense, and you can quote me.”

It actually would make sense on one level; of Deadline’s three erstwhile competitors, only Variety currently seems to be turning a profit. So an eventual page-one trade headline along the lines of “Deadline Hollywood: Variety Now in Bed with Nikki Finke” can perhaps not be entirely discounted. And, if Johnson turns out to be right, this will be a far more impressive trade scoop than that faux Finke snapshot.

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