Syd Silverman, the former publisher and owner of Variety, died of a sudden illness in Boca Raton, Fla., on Sunday. He was 85. Silverman inherited the role of publisher in 1950 and held that title until 1987, when he sold the paper. During his years at Variety, he made sure the coverage reflected the many changes in the entertainment industry, including the revolutions in cable and pay-TV, independent film pre-sales, financial interest and syndication rules for TV programs, satellite TV, home video and digital media.
CBS Corp. President-CEO Leslie Moonves will serve as the keynote speaker at Variety‘s Dealmakers breakfast on Dec. 2 in Beverly Hills.
Variety’s new owner has named three new editors in chief and announced the end of the paper’s daily edition, which will be replaced by a once-a-week Tuesday issue. Claudia Eller, Cynthia Littleton and Andrew Wallenstein will oversee coverage of film, television and digital content, respectively. Tim Gray, who has been with Variety for 31 years, most recently as editor-in-chief, will stay on to oversee expanded international coverage and other special projects, the paper reported.
New CNN boss Jeff Zucker has been looking to raid certain print publications to beef up the network’s talent roster. A source says he’s “reached out to some top reporters in Hollywood to help CNN break more news in that area.”
Variety, the century-old entertainment trade newspaper once considered the bible of the movie industry, has been sold to online publisher Jay Penske and private equity firm Third Point LLC, the companies said today. Penske Media Corp and Third Point paid about $25 million to buy the money-losing, 107-year-old newspaper from medical and technical publisher Reed Elsevier.
Reed Elsevier, looking to unload the 107-year-old title, its last remaining North American trade magazine, has been forced to cut Variety‘s asking price by more than 25% and offer “seller financing” to close the deal. The publishing giant hopes the moves entice one of the two remaining serious suitors, Jay Penske’s Penske Media Corp. or Marc Lasry’s Avenue Capital, to cross the finish line.
New York billionaire Marc Lasry’s Avenue Capital has emerged as the front-runner to take control of Hollywood trade Variety. 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 says. Barring a last-minute challenge, a deal could be announced as early as this week, the source adds.
Jimmy Finkelstein — co-owner of The Hollywood Reporter, Billboard and Adweek — is one of two final bidders for cash-strapped Variety, while billionaire Ron Burkle is the other suitor still in the running, a source close to the situation says.