Washington Post sells Newsweek to billionaire Sidney Harman

Agence France Presse

Posted at Aug 04 2010 10:16 AM | Updated as of Aug 04 2010 06:17 PM

WASHINGTON - The Washington Post Co. has agreed to sell its money-losing Newsweek magazine to California billionaire Sidney Harman, the firm said Monday.

"In seeking a buyer for Newsweek, we wanted someone who feels as strongly as we do about the importance of quality journalism. We found that person in Sidney Harman," said Donald Graham, chief executive of The Washington Post Company.

Harman vowed to retain the majority of Newsweek's 325 employees, although that number is not expected to include editor Jon Meacham, who was reported to be stepping down.

"Newsweek is a national treasure. I am enormously pleased to be succeeding The Washington Post Company and the Graham family and look forward to this great journalistic, business and technological challenge," Harman said.

A former deputy commerce secretary, Harman earned his money through Harman International Industries, which makes high-quality audio and other products.

Post Co. chairman Donald Graham announced on May 5 that the company had decided to sell Newsweek, which was founded in 1933 and purchased by the Post Co. in 1961.

Like many other US magazines, Newsweek has been grappling with a steep drop in print advertising revenue, steadily declining circulation and the migration of readers to free news online.

Newsweek, which has been engaged in a fierce decades-long rivalry with Time magazine, lost more than $28 million  last year and advertising revenue dropped 37%.