Updated (5:54 p.m.): Martin Peretz and company are reportedly thinking of selling The New Republic again. The Wall Street Journal's Anupreeta Das teased a forthcoming story on Twitter: "The New Republic magazine hires Blackstone to explore a possible sale -- sources." She revealed the details a few minutes later in a full report:
Blackstone Group is expected to reach out to various media companies, such as Bloomberg LP and News Corp. to gauge their interest in buying the magazine, which is known for its clout among Washington, D.C., insiders, one person familiar with the matter said. A wealthy individual with an interest in media and Beltway politics could also be a buyer, the person said. …
Although the magazine loses money, the people familiar with the matter said the owners hoped that a dedicated new investor could turn its finances around and pull it into profitability. A sale would likely fetch less than $20 million, one person said.
Slate editor Jacob Weisberg immediately tweeted, "TNR for sale again. $20 million? I don't think so." Later in the day, The New York Times's Dealbook blog offered more details early in the day included a long list of suitors that included everyone from New York Observer owner Jared Kushner, AOL's Huffington Post division and the Atlantic Media Company.
The New Republic is a near century-old magazine for Beltway types that's fallen on hard times lately and has changed ownership structure frequently over the last few years, but it's never been too far from Peretz's reach. Peretz first purchased TNR in 1974, but amid mounting losses starting in 2002 sold stakes to outside partners until the magazine was wholly owned by Canadian publisher CanWest in 2007. Two years later, with CanWest facing bankruptcy, Peretz bought it back, with the help of "a consortium led by Laurence Grafstein, a longtime media banker at Lazard who once interned at the magazine," according to The Times. So news that The New Republic's looking for a new owner isn't terribly surprising, but it's certainly not encouraging either for the magazine's fans.