Report: Variety’s New Owner is… Avenue Capital

So it looks as if it’s not going to be Ron Burkle after all.

According to the New York Post, Variety parent Reed Elsevier has accepted a formal bid for the trade publication. The winning party is a billionaire, but not the one who had recently been touted, partly because Burkle reportedly wasn’t willing to go high enough:

New York billionaire Marc Lasry’s Avenue Capital has emerged as the front-runner to take control of Hollywood trade Variety, The Post has learned. Variety’s parent company, Reed Elsevier, has accepted the hedge fund’s bid for between $30 million and $40 million, a source close to the talks said. Reed Elsevier has been seeking around $40 million.

The Post suggests the deal could be officially completed as early as this week. More worrisome, especially for current Variety staffers, is the article’s suggestion that some of the trade’s operations will be combined with that of another company overseen by Avenue with several others – American Media.

Reporters Keith J. Kelly and Josh Kosman were unable at press-time  to get comment from Avenue Capital. To read their report, click here.