Newsweek Sale Update: Who's In, Who's Out

As many as 12 said to be interested; no serious bids yet

It appears there may be some serious interest in Newsweek, if not serious bids.

There are at least six – and, depending who you believe, as many as 12 — parties said to interested in buying the Washington Post-owned magazine, with Allen & Co. moving ahead with the second round bidding process: management meetings with potential buyers.

Previously reported suitors include OpenGate Capital, hedge fund manager Thane Ritchie and conservative Newsmax Media (though I’m still not buying that one).
 
The latest list now includes Fred Drasner, a former owner of U.S. News & World Report who has reportedly teamed with Fast Company co-founder Alan Webber and ex-Dow Jones Newswires president Paul Ingrassia on a bid to buy the struggling newsweekly, according to the Post.

Meanwhile, according to Politico, Sidney Harman, husband of Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.), is another entrant in the Newsweek sweepstakes. Harman “would keep Newsweek as a traditional newsmagazine,” Politico reports. And he has the money to do that – according to the paper, the couple’s holdings make Jane one of the wealthiest members of Congress.

Harman indicated that he’s one of 12 “serious suitors,” though who the other half dozen are is unclear. One name not on the list: Haim Saban, the billionaire investor who told the Wall Street Journal he planned to take a "serious look" before the first round bids were due.

Another name that has cropped up in the last few days – albeit quietly – is Bloomberg LP, which, to this point, has not shown an interest, at least publicly. “Don’t be surprised if they get involved,” said one M&A source.

Bloomberg surprised many last October when it bought another struggling weekly, BusinessWeek, for a reported $5 million.

More to read:

How Much Would You Pay to Buy Newsweek?
Newsweek Sale Update: 70 Interested, Saban ‘Serious’
Who Might Buy Newsweek — and the Odds They Will
Newsweek Goes Up for Sale