Harman Beats Out Avenue For ‘Newsweek’

Aug 4 2010 | 2:51am ET

A handful of alternative investment firms wanted to buy Newsweek. But none will be the next owner of the struggling news weekly; instead, a 91-year-old audio equipment billionaire.

Sidney Harman, the founder of Harman Kardon, beat out New York hedge fund Avenue Capital Group for the magazine. He reportedly won’t pay much—the figure of $1 has been bandied about—instead agreeing to take on some $50 million in liabilities from the current owners, the Washington Post Co.

Avenue’s bid was reportedly derailed by its ties to the National Enquirer, the sensationalist tabloid. The hedge fund owns a stake in Enquirer publisher American Media, and had planned to turn Newsweek’s advertising and back-office functions over to AMI.

Avenue had been seen as the front-runner to buy the magazine.

Private equity firm OpenGate Capital and hedge fund Harbinger Capital Partners were also reportedly considering bids for Newsweek. Hedge fund manager A.R. Thane Ritchie also briefly considered an offer.

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