When news first began circulating yesterday that Vulture buddy Nikki Finke had sold her influential Deadline Hollywood Daily website to an entity called the Mail.com Media Corporation, the first thing that popped into our heads was “How much did she take home?” Your friendly Vulture editors batted the idea around over Instant Messenger for a few minutes, finally landing on the (wholly arbitrary) assumption that the deal probably made her a millionaire (but just barely). Shortly thereafter, Nikki wrote a braggadocious email to her new MMC compatriots (competitors?) over at Movieline that she “received the equivalent of the GNP of a small country” in the sale, which exacerbated the situation and prompted a slew of showbiz journalists to start prying into the heretofore undisclosed terms of the deal. What resulted was a hilarious chain of reports that read like they were filed by a bunch of drunk auctioneers.
Paid Content’s Rafat Ali was the first to report on the terms of the deal, which he placed in the neighborhood of “seven figures.” Which, based on the roughly 90,000 page views she averages per day, sounded about right to us. However, Daily Finance’s Jeff Bercovici upped the ante considerably a few hours later when he reported that “a source with knowledge of the details says the price was around $10 million,” a figure most laughed off as being an improbably high estimate. That is, until noted Finke nemesis Sharon Waxman reported over at the Wrap that Nikki pulled in “a stunning $14 million,” a figure that was shortly trumped by an estimate by London’s Financial Times that valued the deal at a comically high $15 million. That’s Reese Witherspoon money, people!
While we have no idea of verifying how much Nikki ended up making from the sale (she’s not saying), we have serious doubts that MMC bigwig Jay Penske would be naïve enough to shell out $15 million for a single blog, no matter how successful it may be. But then again, if you’re reading this, Jay: If you ever find yourself in another situation where you’ve got a few mil burning a hole in your pocket, you know how to get ahold of us!