NEWSWEEK FOR SALE – AT 3:17 P.M. ET: This was probable inevitable, from the Washington Post:
The Washington Post Co. announced this morning that it has hired Allen & Co. to seek buyers for Newsweek magazine, the money-losing newsweekly that The Post Co. has owned for decades.
Quoting from the company release:
The Washington Post Company (NYSE: WPO) announced today that it has retained boutique investment bank Allen & Company to explore the possible sale of Newsweek magazine. The newsweekly was launched in 1933 and purchased by The Washington Post Company in 1961. Newsweek is an internationally known and respected publication, providing unique news, commentary and insight into political and social developments in the United States and around the world.
“The losses at Newsweek in 2007-2009 are a matter of record. Despite heroic efforts on the part of Newsweek’s management and staff, we expect it to still lose money in 2010. We are exploring all options to fix that problem,” said Donald E. Graham, chairman of The Washington Post Company. “Newsweek is a lively, important magazine and website, and in the current climate, it might be a better fit elsewhere.”
In an interview with my colleague Howie Kurtz, Graham said "The staff of Newsweek has been unbelievable, both on the quality of the magazine and getting costs down." But the losses are a "continuing frustration," especially on the digital side, where Newsweek made only $8 million last year, he said.
COMMENT: I wonder if anyone knows what the problem is. The problem is bias, a bias that grew and grew over the years. We used to be Newsweek subscribers, and subscribed for decades until the bias became so great that it was impossible to read the magazine. Had Newsweek improved and corrected its journalism, rather than let it deteriorate, it might have survived.
If it's bought at all, I suspect it will be bought by a liberal sugar daddy who's prepared to accept the losses so he can say he owns a major magazine. It's like investing in Broadway. Most people don't invest for the profits, which only sometimes show up. They invest to rub shoulders.
May 5, 2010