The Washington Post Company is putting Newsweek up for sale.
Here’s a press release the company issued today and just posted on Newsweek’s website:
The Washington Post Company (NYSE: WPO) announced today that it has retained 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.”
The word is also out on Newsweek’s Tumblr: “Attention, Tumblr, Apparently We’re Now Accepting Bids.”
A spokeswoman for the Washington Post Co. had no comment further than what’s in the release. We’re waiting to hear back from Newsweek’s people.
The Washington Post’s Howard Kurtz writes: “There was a stunned silence on the line as Graham revealed that Allen & Co., an investment banking firm, has been hired to broker the sale.”
And Peter Kafka notes of The Washington Post Company’s statement:
In corporatespeak, this equivalent to hastily scrawling out a “Going Out of Business – Name Your Price” sign and plastering it on the front window.
Anyone want to make a bid? Newsweek saw revenue decline 29 per cent last year, and ended up losing $29.3 million on sales of $184 million.
Meanwhile, worth noting that things are comparatively awesome for rival Time Magazine: Its owner, Time Warner’s Time Inc. (TWX), just reported that ad sales are up (unit-wide) for the first time in two years.
Choire Sicha at The Awl is reporting that Newsweek editor Jon Meacham “said that he will be lining up financiers and trying to make a bid to buy the magazine himself. He has already had inquiries from some very well-off types this morning.”
Perfect timing: We’re sure this will make for good fodder when Meacham goes on “The Daily Show” tonight.
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