Washington Post sells Newsweek to audio tycoon

Washington : The Washington Post Company announced Monday that it has signed a contract to sell the iconic Newsweek magazine to audio tycoon Sidney Harman.

The deal was completed Monday morning, and Harman, 91, beat several other bidders to win the deal, Xinhua reported.

The deal ends almost a half-century of ownership by the Washington Post Company, which bought Newsweek in 1961. The magazine was founded Feb 17, 1933.

Donald Graham, chairman and chief executive officer of The Washington Post Company, said Harman has promised to keep most of the magazine’s staff.

The terms of the deal were not announced, but Newsweek website quoted “sources close to the negotiations” as saying Harman has agreed to pay a small amount in cash and to assume tens of millions of dollars in financial obligations.

Newsweek’s editor Jon Meacham also announced he will be leaving the company once the sale is complete. No decision on who will replace Meacham has been made.

Tom Ascheim, Newsweek’s current chief executive officer, will remain in that role under the new ownership. The deal is expected to be concluded by the end of this month or early September.

In a press release, Harman said Newsweek is “a national treasure”, and he is “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 he saw the purchase as an “opportunity to synthesize all of that experience” in industry, education and government and he “couldn’t pass it up”.

Washington Post Company chairman Donald Graham announced in May the company had decided to sell Newsweek, which has been plagued by advertising revenue drop and circulation decline. It has lost more than $28 million last year, as its advertising revenue dropped 37 percent.

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