Newsweek up for sale, again: Report

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Newsweek, the longtime news magazine which ended its print publication last year in favour of digital, is up for sale again, according to a leaked memo seen on Wednesday.

The first report on the possible sale came from Variety, which quoted unnamed sources familiar with the intentions of parent company IAC.

The organisation did not immediately respond to an AFP query.

But a staff memo that was circulated on the Internet from Newsweek chief Baba Shetty and editor-in-chief Tina Brown appeared to confirm the report.

"Our obligation was to turn the business around, and develop a breakthrough digital product. We've done just that," the memo said.

"So why explore a sale now? The simple reason is focus. Newsweek is a powerful brand, but its demands have taken attention and focus away from The Daily Beast."

Newsweek merged with the online news site The Daily Beast in 2010, although each continues to have its own brand.

The final Newsweek magazine hit newsstands in December featuring an ironic hashtag as a symbol of its Twitter-era transition to an all-digital format.

The second-largest weekly news magazine in the United States had been grappling with a steep drop in print advertising revenue, steadily declining circulation and the migration of readers to free news online.

The Washington Post sold Newsweek to California billionaire Sidney Harman for one dollar in 2010, ahead of a deal with IAC to merge the magazine with the online operation to become known familiarly as "Newsbeast."

At the time of the sale in 2010, Newsweek had piled up more than US$70 million (S$88.6 million) in losses over the prior two years and had forecast more red ink.

After Harman's death in 2011, his family ended its contributions to Newsweek.