A tipster tells us that Newsweek buyer Dr. Sidney Harman is getting something else for his $1 purchase of the struggling newsweekly: a number of “liabilities,” of course, like the fact that the magazine could lose $70 million just this year alone. But the Washington Post company reportedly threw in another sweetener: our tipster, who wanted to remain anonymous but has direct knowledge of the situation, tells us that Wash Post Co has offered to cover severance payments for any laid-off Newsweek staffers for up to a year.
This means that Harman has a long time to “kick the tires,” says the tipster. If the Post hadn’t made that offer, Harman would have to make layoffs within four months or so, or he would be responsible for severance payments. So in a way, making it cheaper for the new owner to cut jobs actually increases the likelihood that more jobs will remain. (Of course, it goes two ways–making it cheaper for the new owner to cut jobs means that it’s cheaper for the new owner to cut jobs.)
A spokesperson for the Post company, Rima Calderon, had no comment and would not confirm or deny the tipster’s account.