Hedgie, P.E. Firm Seek To Buy ‘Newsweek’

Jun 7 2010 | 1:14pm ET

A pair of alternative investors are eyeing Newsweek magazine, the august periodical that The Washington Post Co. is seeking to unload after years in the red.

A.R. Thane Ritchie, the founder of hedge fund Ritchie Capital Management, and private equity firm OpenGate Capital are two of the four bidders for Newsweek, which the Post has owned for nearly a half-century.

OpenGate, which owns TV Guide, is the only bidder without known political ties or ambitions. Also trying to buy the magazine, which has lost $44 million over the last four years, are politically conservative publisher Newsmax Media and Sidney Harman, the husband of Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.). Ritchie himself has been politically active this year, founding a political party in Illinois aimed at challenging both Democrats and Republicans.

It’s also not Ritchie’s first bite at a major publication: He tried to buy the Sun-Times Media Group, which owns the Chicago Sun-Times and several dozen suburban Chicago newspapers, last year. Even after losing the bidding, he went to court to try to block its sale of Jim Tyree of Mesirow Financial.

Ritchie is bidding for Newsweek on his own, and not on behalf of Ritchie Capital. His Wheaton, Ill.-based firm has been engulfed in the Thomas Petters Ponzi scheme case, with Barclays Bank suing the hedge fund, accusing it of hiding more than $150 million in investments it made in Petters’ collapsed business empire.

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