The Daily Beast has pulled out of talks to combine its operations with Newsweek, Russell Adams of The Wall Street Journal reports.
The talks broke down, according to one of Adams’ sources, “because the two parties couldn’t come to an agreement on governance and editorial control.”
UPDATE – Daily Beast editor-in-chief Tina Brown has confirmed the news.
“The talks were indeed intriguing, but in the end we have decided not to pursue them further,” she wrote in a post on The Daily Beast. “The engagement was fun but the pre-nup got too complex. We wish Newsweek all the best.”
rumours of a potential Daily Beast-Newsweek merger have been swirling for the past few months. They picked up steam in recent weeks as reports surfaced that talks between the two organisations — one backed by Barry Diller’s IAC, the other newly-owned by former stereo magnate Sidney Harman — had become “serious.” Brown, who would also have secured the top spot on Newsweek’s masthead under the deal, acknowledged them in an Oct. 5 post commemorating her website’s second birthday.
Now it appears the only announcement to be made is one signaling that Newsweek will continue its search for a successor to former editor-in-chief Jon Meacham.
Harman bought Newsweek, which lost almost $30 million in 2009 and is expected to lose about $20 million this year, with no clearly articulated plan for who would help him lead the magazine back onto the road toward profitability or, perhaps at best, breaking even, Harman has said. (It was recently confirmed that he paid $1 for the magazine and agreed to take on liabilities.)
Brown, formerly the editor of Vanity Fair and The New Yorker, was an attractive option given her stature in the magazine world and the resources she would bring with her, including a stable of editorial talent that could help offset the staff exodus Newsweek has seen since it was first put up for sale in May.
With the Daily Beast deal now off the table, it seems like Harman might be back at square one.
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