Sidney Harman buys Newsweek magazine

Sidney Harman, 91, founder and chairman emeritus of Harman, has purchased Newsweek magazine from the Washington Post. Harman was one of several bidders for the news magazine. Sources state that ownership will be by the Harman family, and it will not have an association with Harman International. The deal ends almost a half-century of ownership by the Washington Post, which acquired Newsweek in 1961. The magazine was founded in 1933.

Harman paid only one dollar for the prestigious title, but has agreed to assume tens of millions of dollars in financial obligations. The Washington Post, however, will retain the pension assets and liabilities and “certain employee obligations arising prior to the sale,” according to the company’s press release. Newsweek editor Jon Meacham also announced he will be leaving the company once the sale is complete.

Asked why he wanted to purchase Newsweek, Harman said he saw it as an "opportunity to synthesize all of that experience (in industry, education and government). I couldn't pass it up." He added, "I did not and do not think of this in traditional business terms. The purpose of the investment is to provide fuel for the transition of the magazine in its current position into a thriving operation in the print, mobile and digital worlds. I'll consider it a victory when it breaks even."