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Variety for Sale Again

Reed Elsevier Failed to Find Buyer at Right Price in 2008

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Reed Elsevier, the publisher of "Gray's Anatomy" textbook and the LexisNexis database, said Friday that it has put Variety magazine up for sale again.

The London-based company put Variety and a host of other titles on the block in early 2008 but never found a buyer willing to pay the asking price.

Reed closed 23 publications in 2010 and slowly proceeded with selling others, such as Publishers Weekly and Broadcasting & Cable.

Variety is part of the Reed Business Information division. "With RBI's increasing focus on data services, and the sale of our other U.S. print magazines, it now makes sense for us to sell the business," said Mark Kelsey, CEO of Reed Business Information, in a statement today.

"Reed is trying to extricate itself from advertising-driven businesses," said Reed Phillips, managing partner at media investment bank DeSilva & Phillips.

"In 2008, they probably had high expectations on price and the business was probably doing well, so I don't think there was a big rush to sell it," Mr. Phillips said. "Valuations have come down for properties like Variety, but at the same time there's a larger pool of buyers today than there's been in three years."

The magazine has more than 100 employees, according to Reed Elsevier, which bought Variety in 1987.

In addition to the slow recovery that is challenging most media businesses, Variety has faced competition from an invigorated Hollywood Reporter and online-only players such as Deadline and The Wrap.

-- With Bloomberg News --

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