Sidney Harman, Barry Diller form pact; Tina Brown returns to familiar role as a magazine editor, along with her Beast duties
The Newsweek/Daily Beast deal is done.
The on-again, off-again mega-merger between Barry Diller and Tina Brown's Beast and Sidney Harman's struggling newsweekly, Brown announced late Thursday in a blog post.
"Some weddings take longer to plan than others," Brown wrote. "The union of The Daily Beast and Newsweek magazine finally took place with a coffee-mug toast between all parties Tuesday evening, in a conference room atop Beast headquarters, the IAC building on Manhattan’s West 18th Street. The final details were only hammered out last night."
The pact gives Diller the print vehicle he's long-coveted, Brown a high-profile national magazine from which to preach — and Harman the big-name editor he's been searching for.
The new entity will be called the Newsweek Daily Beast Company, the company said in a statement. Harman and Diller will be directors, with Harman as executive chairman and one director each to be appointed from either side.
“In an admittedly challenging time, this merger provides the ideal combination of established journalism authority and bright, bristling website savvy. I like partnering with Barry Diller and I look forward to building our company with Tina Brown and Stephen Colvin," Harman said.
Brown added on her blog: "What does this exciting new media marriage mean? It means that The Daily Beast’s animal high spirits will now be teamed with a legendary, weekly print magazine in a joint venture, named The Newsweek Daily Beast Company, owned equally by Barry Diller’s IAC and Sidney Harman, owner (and savior) of Newsweek. As for me, I shall now be in the editor-in-chief’s chair at both The Daily Beast and Newsweek, bringing with us as CEO my Daily Beast business partner Stephen Colvin, who launched The Week Magazine in the U.S., as well as Maxim, as president of Dennis Publishing."
The news comes three weeks after talks publicly broke down between the two camps over editorial control, but were renewed when Harman failed to find a suitable alternative.
But even after initially pronouncing the deal dead, Diller had a hankering for print.
"One way or the other, we'll either buy or create some form of print product,” Diller said at a Daily Beast event last month in New Orleans. “As much as digital of course is going to take more and more share, advertisers like to have a print representation of what they're trying to say, if it's tied well and into this very fast moving Internet publication."
Last month Brown said, “the engagement was fun but the pre-nup got too complex.” On Thursday, she applauded the men involved in the deal:
"It takes two inspired entrepreneurs like Barry Diller and Sidney Harman to undertake such a challenging media experiment. Barry Diller brought me to IAC to partner with him in his vision of a new website that would curate the news for smart readers, with a distinctly independent point of view. [...] Both of us look forward to joining with Sidney Harman, who made his fortune and reputation as founder of Harman International, the worldwide audio manufacturer, and has a mind that’s alive with a cultural curiosity that’s exactly what you need to succeed in the publishing world. I very much admire his passion to restore Newsweek to its glory days, and with a bit of luck and a lot of hard work, we will."