Barry Diller was finally able to correct a mistake on Saturday when the business mogul finally sold the digital remains of Newsweek to IBT media, the owners and publishers of the International Business Times. Maybe there's something in the air. News of the sale was nearly simultaneously reported by Capital New York's Tom McGovern and Joe Pompeo, Buzzfeed's Peter Lauria and The Hollywood Reporter's Erik Hayden on Saturday evening.
How much did IBT pay for the old weekly news magazine? No one knows. The price can't be much lower than when it last changed hands. Sidney Harmon and Barry Diller's IAC/Interactive paid $1 for the magazine and its liabilities when they bought it from The Washington Post Company in 2010. IAC/InterActive chairman Barry Diller has been running the magazine ever since, merging it with The Daily Beast and installing former Vanity Fair editor Brown as the editor of both properties. Despite the buzz created by Brown's Newsweek covers, it ceased publishing in December.
But the former staple of every dentist's office has been struggling from the get go, and Diller was honest about regretting the purchase. "I wish I hadn’t bought Newsweek," Diller told Bloomberg in April. "It was a mistake." Earlier this week, the New York Post reported billionaire Jay Penske, the owner of Variety and Deadline.com, was "kicking the tires" about a potential Newsweek sale.
But now Newsweek will have a new digital sister in the International Business Times. The fledging news startup was launched in 2005 by Etienne Uzac and Jonathan Davis and saw a dramatic uptick in readership over the last few years. The news operation is currently being run by Jeffrey Rothfeder, a former Bloomberg News editor. As if forecasting the future, IBT moved its operation into the former Newsweek headquarters at 7 Hanover Square two years ago. Uzac and Davis told Buzzfeed they started thinking about purchasing the weekly around that time.
Newsweek, which still publishes a weekly digital magazine, will run jointly alongside the International Business Times. It will also inherit its old website back. Newsweek.com will stop forwarding to the Daily Beast homepage soon. "We are 100% digital with a track record of successfully growing online media properties," Davis said in a press release. "The Newsweek brand is strong around the world and we believe there is significant potential to leverage that as well as enhance the editorial offering and continue to modernize the operations and approach. We are excited to add Newsweek to our portfolio of growing news brands and to pursuing the great opportunities ahead together."