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Media Watch: IAC's Barry Diller, Sorry He Bought Newsweek, Puts It Up for Sale

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood May 29, 2013 at 3:23PM

Surprise! IAC's canny CEO Barry Diller is putting 80-year-old Newsweek up for sale. Diller regrets, he told Bloomberg TV, making the deal to invest in Newsweek with investor Sidney Harman, who had bought the flailing weekly newsmagazine from the Washington Post for $1 plus liabilities--"it was a mistake,” Diller said.
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Barry Diller
Photo courtesy of Andrew Harrer / Bloomberg Barry Diller

Surprise! IAC's canny CEO Barry Diller is putting Newsweek up for sale. That marks the third time in as many years that the 80-year-old publication has been on the block. Diller regrets, he told Bloomberg TV, making the deal to invest in Newsweek with the late audio magnate Sidney Harman, who had bought the flailing weekly newsmagazine from the Washington Post for $1 plus liabilities. "It was a mistake,” Diller said.

First the IAC CEO merged the print publication with his friend Tina Brown's digital The Daily Beast in 2010, then took Newsweek online as Newsweek Global, for which, he told Bloomberg, he did “not have great expectations."

A redesign of Newsweek.com launched last month.

In a memo, News_Beast editor Brown and CEO Baba Shetty described Newsweek as a "breakthrough digital product" that was a drain on The Daily Beast:

"Newsweek is a powerful brand, but its demands have taken attention and focus away from The Daily Beast. The story that hasn't been told about The Daily Beast is its strength."


This article is related to: New Media, Barry Diller


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.