It’s true! For less than you’d spend on a bottle of soda, 91-year-old tycoon Sidney Harman has purchased Newsweek from the Washington Post Company in an official decision announced today. In conjunction with the deal, Newsweek editor Jon Meacham is stepping down.
Harman, who made his fortune through audio-system manufacturing company Harman International industries, is married to Congresswoman Jane Harman. Newsweek has been looking for a buyer to salvage the magazine from economic slump, and Harman offered to keep a large number of the magazine’s current employees, according to The New York Times. He bought the publication for merely a dollar, in exchange for the liability that accompanies the purchase and Newsweek’s sizable debt.
Newsweek itself reports that at a staff meeting Monday, Harman spoke of the honor he felt in his new association with the magazine. “I hope this will be the last day anyone hears me referred to as owner. It makes me cringe. We are all owners, and that starts with ownership of this legacy, and that is a big damn thing to own,” he said. “I would be delighted over a period of a few years to see Newsweek get by on its own fuel. Break even is a serious accomplishment in this environment,” he said. “I’m not here to make money, I’m here to make joy.”
The Washington Post Company bought Newsweek in 1961, and Meacham has served as the editor for the past four years. He now leaves, citing Harman’s purchase as a “natural occasion” to move on, career-wise. No replacement has yet been named.