In a deal announced Wednesday, transportation heir and publishing magnate Jay Penske now controls the big three entertainment trade publications: Variety, Deadline, and The Hollywood Reporter.
Penske Media Corporation (PMC) already owned Variety and Deadline, in addition to Rolling Stone and IndieWire. Now, in an arrangement with MRC (formerly Media Rights Capital), The Hollywood Reporter, Billboard, and Vibe will be brought under a unified banner in which the new joint venture will be called PMRC.
Financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed and the companies said no leadership changes are planned at PMC or MRC. Additionally, it was said that each of the publications will continue to operate independently.
Not everyone is buying it.
“The companies that own Variety and The Hollywood Reporter, Deadline, Billboard, Rolling Stone and all the secondary awards shows like the Golden Globes and American Music Awards are now ONE. Their announcement this morning skirts the word ‘merge’ but that’s what they’ve done,” said Showbiz 411 columnist Roger Friedman. “Conflict of interests? Uh, yeah. Like, galore. What?”
The new venture means Sharon Waxman’s TheWrap is the last independent major Hollywood trade not controlled by Penske (along with Metaflix Media, if we were to be generous with the term “major”).
“These are all brands I’ve long admired. Billboard, The Hollywood Reporter, and Vibe have created some of the finest content in their respective industries and have contributed immensely to the heightened quality of journalism covering entertainment and music today,” said Penske. “We feel very fortunate for this valuable partnership with the exceptional MRC team and the opportunity to continue the legacy of these tremendous brands for the next many decades.”