The 103-year-old Hollywood trade paper Variety went on the auction block Thursday when Anglo-Dutch company Reed Elsevier put its publishing unit up for sale.
The company said the planned sale was strategic -- part of a move away from advertising-dependent to subscription-based publications and information services -- and no reflection on the performance of its Reed Business Information unit.
"We've taken the decision to get into less cyclical markets where there's less exposure to advertising," spokesman Patrick Kerr said.
Reed Business Information publishes the Variety papers and hundreds of other periodicals globally, including Broadcasting & Cable and Publishers Weekly. The company's revenue in 2007 was $1.7 billion.
Charlie Koones, who until Dec. 31 oversaw Reed Business Information's entertainment division as the president and publisher of Variety, said the decision to sell illustrated the difficulties facing print publications. While Variety's online advertising revenue grew 82% last year, its print advertising revenue declined, he said, although he didn't say by how much.