Newsweek Sale Update: 70 Interested, Saban ‘Serious’

Also, Vegas odds-on favorite is Rupert Murdoch

The same day he bought “Power Rangers” back from Disney, billionaire investor Haim Saban told the Wall Street Journal he plans to “take a serious look" at buying Newsweek, the struggling weekly newsmagazine that was put on the block earlier this month by the Washington Post Company.

Saban tried to buy Newsweek two years ago, but said he was rebuffed by Don Graham, WaPo Co. chairman. On May 5, Graham said Newsweek will lose money again in 2010 – the fourth consecutive year of losses – and admitted “it might be a better fit elsewhere.”

What’s more, Saban said that Allen & Co., the bank handling the auction for Newsweek and the Washington Post, told him that there are “70 parties potentially interested in buying the magazine.” This sounds to me like some serious sales posturing. (See this column I published a few hours after the sale announcement: “Who Might Buy Newsweek — and the Odds They Will.” Spoiler — there weren’t nearly 70.)

Meanwhile, as Folio notes, an online casino — YouWager.com — has Rupert Murdoch as the favorite to buy Newsweek, followed by Bloomberg, Thompson Reuters, Time Inc., McGraw-Hill (editor’s note: no chance) and OpenGate Capital.

Despite his seriousness, Saban did not sound particularly optimistic of a bid: "I would be remiss if I didn’t look at it now, but the world has significantly changed in the last two years, and not for the better.”

More to read:

Who Might Buy Newsweek — and the Odds They Will
Newsweek Goes Up for Sale
Saban Buys ‘Power Rangers’ Back From Disney