Yesterday’s purchase of a 77-year-old magazine, Newsweek, by a 91-year-old audio magnate, Sidney Harman, had all the makings of a feel-good story, even as editor Jon Meacham announced his departure. A legendary media franchise rescued from an uncertain future by someone who regards Newsweek as a “national treasure,” and commits himself to the highest quality, Harman the idealist also has credibility as a brilliant innovator and businessman of stature. Though he has made his fortune in audio, he loves print. He is the author of two books and said writing “enables the process of self-discovery.” He will take over with a staff overjoyed by his commitment and his manners.
“Harman was someone who was taken less seriously by the staff who worked on the deal because he had no plan.”
But make no mistake, Harman’s pocket change purchase of Newsweek—he paid $1, plus the assumption of liabilities for the magazine—has to be a passion play, because it certainly isn’t a financial one. The Daily Beast has obtained a copy of the 66-page sales memorandum that the Newsweek seller, the Washington Post Co., gave to prospective buyers, and it paints a picture of a media property given to someone unequipped to fundamentally change the current trajectory.
Read More: by Peter Lauria, Newsweek
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