The sale amount hasn't been disclosed. Penske, the son of car-racer-businessman Roger Penske, fancies himself an emerging new-media mogul—his company MMC recently revived Movieline.com and also owns Hollywoodlife.com and OnCars.com. With Finke added to his stable, he now has three partially overlapping entertainment-oriented sites as part of his "large and rapidly growing portal."
Penske was the co-founder of Firefly Mobile, which markets cell phones to kids. He also runs a rare and used bookstore, Dragon Books, and has followed in dad's footsteps with a racing team he co-owns with Seagate Technologies chairman Steve Luczo.
"I was not anxious to sell. I was not looking to sell," she says. "This was sort of a process where various people kind of wore me down…I'm very pleased with what happened. What wound up happening was nothing like the offers I was getting a year ago."
How demure! We wonder, though, why someone who wasn't looking to sell their web site would say she can't discuss Variety's attempt to purchase said web site "because of non-disclosure agreements I have with other interested parties," as she put it in March. And Jill Stewart, her editor at the LA Weekly, said Finke had been discussing the deal with Penske for at least two months. The terms of the deal haven't been disclosed, but Stewart says Finke characterized it as "so much money" while she was deciding whether to make the jump.
In any case, more power to Finke for capitalizing on something she's worked extremely hard on over the years. And for keeping control of the site during her tenure at Village Voice Media's LA Weekly, which ought to be apoplectic over the fact that it let her develop a sale-able online property while she was in their employ without, it would seem, owning a piece of it.
Finke will have some new colleagues now in the MMC empire, including MovieLine's Stu VanAirsdale and Kyle Buchanan, neither of whom she seems to like very much. When the pair was at Gawker Media's Defamer, Finke took them to task for allegedly repeating bullshit rumors. When Gawker Media folded Defamer into Gawker and they decamped for MovieLine, she wrote, sympathetically: "Neither of those guys are journalists."
We wish Finke the best in this new phase of her career, and look forward to her expansion into her old stomping ground, New York. As for any potential complications that may arise from her new role as a general manager and editor in chief of a web site with staffers other than herself, we'll just quote Kafka, who approached the matter with just the right amount of delicacy:
That will be a tricky expansion to navigate: Recent history shows that blogs produced by dedicated/obsessive proprietors often stumble when they expand, in part because dedicated/obsessive proprietors may not be the best managers, and in part because it's tough to find people who want to, or are able to, work for dedicated/obsessive proprietors.