Media Fortune Fame & Folly

Penske takes Hollywood

Penske Media Corporation (PMC) is taking control of The Hollywood Reporter, Billboard and Vibe, in a joint venture with owner MRC (formerly Valence Media).

The US media companies announced they will together own two ‘Joint Ventures’ to manage the market-leading portfolio of entertainment industry brands. One company, PMRC, would bring together Billboard, Rolling Stone, Vibe, Deadline, Music Business Worldwide, IndieWire, WWD, Variety, and Hollywood Reporter, and be managed by PMC. Another (unnamed) JV, managed by MRC – producer of film and TV including “Ozark,” and the Golden Globe Awards – would seek to create TV, film and live events from across the PMRC publications.

In reality, it seems likely that the main purpose of the JV idea is to deflect potential criticism of a deal which brings together three competing entertainment industry brands in MRC’s Hollywood Reporter and PMC’s Variety and Deadline; likewise, rival music titles Billboard and Rolling Stone. Penske will reportedly own 80% of PMRC. The New York Post has quoted a price of $225m which may be the value ascribed to 80% of PMRC. It is not known if part (or all) of the price paid for the MRC assets was equity in PMC.

MRC’s active involvement is merely managing “a new content partnership that will activate the power of the production infrastructure and expertise of MRC across PMRC intellectual property”.

Given Penske’s longterm commitment to print-centric media brands and MRC’s preoccupation with its TV and movies, we may assume that PMC will eventually own 100% of PMRC. Perhaps sooner rather than later.

PMC and MRC will continue to be managed separately. Of course.

PMC founder, CEO and majority shareholder Jay Penske recently bought back 20% from a private equity funder and, at least until the MRC deal, owned almost 80% of the company.

Penske Media Corp