Sidney Harman, husband of Rep. Jane Harman, is probably best known as the founder of audio equipment company Harman/Kardon. He is about to be the owner — a word he says makes him cringe — of troubled Newsweek magazine. According to a press release, Harman has indicated he intends to keep a majority of the staff.

Apparently Harman snagged the mag from the Washington Post Co. for a song. In exchange, he takes on Newsweek’s considerable debt while the Post carries employee pensions and other obligations.

More on Harman here and here.


The deal ends almost a half century of ownership by the Washington Post Company, which bought NEWSWEEK in 1961. The magazine was founded on Feb. 17, 1933.

“In seeking a buyer for NEWSWEEK, we wanted someone who feels as strongly as we do about the importance of quality journalism. We found that person in Sidney Harman,” said Donald E. Graham, chairman and chief executive officer of The Washington Post Company, in a press release issued by the company. “He has pledged not only to continue to produce a lively, compelling and first-rate news magazine, but also an equally dynamic—and he intends to keep a majority of NEWSWEEK’s very talented staff.”

The terms of the deal were not announced, but sources close to the negotiations said Harman has agreed to pay a small amount in cash and to assume tens of millions of dollars in financial obligations. The Post Company, however, will retain the pension assets and liabilities and “certain employee obligations arising prior to the sale,” according to the company’s press release.

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