Forget about billionaire Ron Burkle - at least for now. The likely buyer is NY billionaire Marc Lasry, whose holdings include American Media, the parent company of the National Enquirer. Variety's parent, Reed Elsevier, has accepted a bid of more than $40 million, the LAT reports. A deal could be announced as early as this week. (The NY Post first reported on Lasry's bid.) His investment group, Avenue, would likely merge Variety's back-office operations with American Media. From the Post:
Lasry's Avenue, which specializes in distressed investments, has been a player in the media space. In print, the firm bought debt in bankrupt Tribune Co. and made a run at buying Newsweek. Lasry has also dabbled in entertainment through his aspiring pop-star daughter. In 2010, the financier promoted daughter Emma's debut music video, "Closet Bitch," by purchasing ads on digital billboards. The hedge fund heavyweight is well connected to Democratic political circles and was a member of the committee that organized President Obama's July 30 New York dinner at NoMad.