Jay Penske, the racing scion and media mogul who likes to employ Hollywood shut-in Nikki Finke when he's not busy (allegedly!) assaulting and urinating on strange women in public, has purchased Hollywood's oldest and most storied trade rag. Let the unceasing drama begin!
The terms of the deal were not disclosed, though the Wrap puts the purchase price at roughly $25 million. Penske had been circling Variety for a while—Variety Group president Neil Stiles called it "nonsense" when the Daily reported Penske's interest last year. Finke, whose Deadline Hollywood blog Penske purchased three years ago for
$15 million no where remotely even close to $15 million, had reportedly been urging him to scoop up Variety.
So does this mean Finke will be bringing her unique, not-at-all-crazy-or-clearly-symptomatic-of-borderline-personality-disorder style of web journalism to lead Variety's staff of 120? Of course it does! Penske told the Los Angeles Times that Finke will have no role in leading Variety and that her job description at Deadline will remain unchanged, but this is nonsense. Finke and her band of marauders at Deadline—some of whom were hired from Variety—have cleaned the trade's clock over the past three years. Why would anyone buy a vanquished foe only to ice out the generalissimo responsible for its defeat?
Of course, I could be wrong, and Penske may be preparing to sideline Finke and integrate Deadline and Variety without her (which would be an amazing, apocalyptic death match to watch). And Finke's peculiar personal habits—like her aversion to being seen in public—might make it hard for her to accept a formal leadership role at an institution like Variety. But that doesn't mean she won't be exercising power behind the scenes, with her usual level-headed demeanor. It will be an interesting few months.