The Washington Post Co. announced Wednesday that it has retained Allen & Company to explore the possible sale of NEWSWEEK magazine. The newsweekly, which has struggled in recent years, was launched in 1933 and purchased by The Washington Post Co. in 1961.The best analysis I've seen on this is at NYT (of all places):
Washington Post Co. Chairman Donald E. Graham came to New York to tell the magazine staff at a 10:30 a.m. ET meeting on Wednesday. "We have reported losses in the tens of millions for the last two years," he said. "Outstanding work by NEWSWEEK's people has significantly narrowed the losses in the last year and particularly in the last few months. But we do not see a path to continuing profitability under our management."
Graham said the company decided to go public with the news to invite as many potential buyers as possible, and said the sale could be completed within a few months. "Our aim will be--if we can do it--a rapid sale to a qualified buyer," he said. "We're a public company and we have to consider the price offered. But we'll have a second and third criteria: the future of NEWSWEEK and the future of those who work here."
In a later meeting, NEWSWEEK Editor Jon Meacham told the editorial staff that he continues to believe in the mission of the company. Meacham said he would do everything he could to ensure the continuation of the magazine, including personally pitching potential buyers. He also reminded the staff that NEWSWEEK wasn't closed today, but was put on the market.
Newsweek is your father’s magazine, and no amount of reinvention could fix that. The brand still has recognition, but beyond helping its editor, Jon Meacham, get on television and sell some books, it hard to tell what the brand is really worth at this point. The people at the magazine had been told that they had until the end of 2010 to figure it out, but with loses of more than $500,000 a week, the alarm clock rang on the early side.