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Variety and The Hollywood Reporter Combine in Joint Venture

(Image credit: PMRC)

The respective parent companies of Variety and The Hollywood Reporter announced a joint venture Wednesday that effectively merges the two oldest and biggest show business trade publications, housing them in a joint venture controlled by Variety owner Penske Media Corp. (PMC).

Under the agreement, MRC publications THR, along with sibling music-industry pubs Billboard and Vibe, will be put in the daily operational control of PMC, owner of Variety, Rolling Stone and Music Business Worldwide. The joint venture will be called "PMRC."

The agreement effectively puts most of the local business-to-business press covering Hollywood content production into the hands of PMC, which also owns digital news operation Deadline Hollywood.

A second joint venture will enable MRC to use content from the PMRC brands, along with the company's Dick Clark Productions asset, to develop other content and business opportunities.

"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," PMC CEO Jay Penske said in a statement. "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."

Added MRC CEOs Asif Satchu and Modi Wiczyk: "We have a great deal of respect for Variety, Rolling Stone and Music Business Worldwide and, as importantly, the leadership at PMC who we’ve gotten to know well and look forward to partnering with in both these businesses."

The deal comes amid heavy losses at MRC (recently rebranded from Valence Media). In April, THR editor Matt Belloni stepped down right before the company conducted a steep round of layoffs at the trade pub. 

THR had been losing as much as $30 million a year, according to some reports. 

THR, Billboard, Adweek, Dick Clark Productions and Mediabistro was spun off in 2015 by Guggenheim Partners and put under the control of Guggenheim President Todd Boehy, who now serves as chairman of all those brands. 

The assets were combined in 2018, along with production company Media Rights Capital, under the moniker Valence Media, which is led by Satchu and Wicyk. Earlier this year, Valence was rebranded into MRC.