Done Deal: Newsweek, The Daily Beast Officially Announce Merger

Once thought to be on life support, the agreement to merge Newsweek and The Daily Beast roared to recovery and became a reality Friday morning, as the magazine and Web site announced that they will merge their operations into a joint venture owned equally by Sidney Harman, who recently gained control of Newsweek, and Barry Diller-helmed IAC.

Harman will be executive chairman of The Newsweek Daily Beast Co., and Diller will be one director, with one apiece to be named from each side. The Daily Beast founding partner and editor-in-chief Tina Brown will be editor-in-chief of both entities, and the CEO of the joint venture will be The Daily Beast president Stephen Colvin.

Brown described the revival of the merger in a post on The Daily Beast:

Some weddings take longer to plan than others. The union of The Daily Beast and Newsweek magazine finally took place with a coffee-mug toast between all parties Tuesday evening, in a conference room atop Beast headquarters, the IAC building on Manhattan’s West 18th Street. The final details were only hammered out last night.

What does this exciting new media marriage mean? It means that The Daily Beast’s animal high spirits will now be teamed with a legendary, weekly print magazine in a joint venture, named The Newsweek Daily Beast Co., owned equally by Barry Diller’s IAC and Sidney Harman, owner (and savior) of Newsweek. As for me, I shall now be in the editor-in-chief’s chair at both The Daily Beast and Newsweek, bringing with us as CEO my Daily Beast business partner, Stephen Colvin, who launched The Week Magazine in the United States, as well as Maxim, as president of Dennis Publishing. His dynamism has created 66 new ad campaigns for us since I persuaded him to join The Daily Beast a year ago.

It’s a wonderful new opportunity for all the brilliant editors and writers at The Daily Beast who have worked so hard to create the site’s success. Working at the warp-speed of a 24/7 news operation, we now add the versatility of being able to develop ideas and investigations that require a different narrative pace suited to the medium of print. And for Newsweek, The Daily Beast is a thriving frontline of breaking news and commentary that will raise the profile of the magazine’s bylines and quicken the pace of a great magazine’s revival. I’m impressed with how Newsweek‘s outstanding staff has continued to put out a lively, well-informed magazine after the departure of their tireless editor, Jon Meacham.

It takes two inspired entrepreneurs like Barry Diller and Sidney Harman to undertake such a challenging media experiment. Barry Diller brought me to IAC to partner with him in his vision of a new Web site that would curate the news for smart readers, with a distinctly independent point of view. With nearly 5 million unique visitors per month after just two years, The Daily Beast has evolved into a site that also, and now predominantly, offers original journalism. Barry’s support, insights, and intellectual daring have been a joy to work with every step of the way. Both of us look forward to joining with Sidney Harman, who made his fortune and reputation as founder of Harman International, the worldwide audio manufacturer, and has a mind that’s alive with a cultural curiosity that’s exactly what you need to succeed in the publishing world. I very much admire his passion to restore Newsweek to its glory days, and with a bit of luck and a lot of hard work, we will. Join us for the journey!

Brown said in the press release announcing the deal:

I see Newsweek and the Beast as a marriage between Newsweek‘s journalistic depth and the vibrant versatility The Daily Beast has realized on the Web. The metabolism of The Daily Beast will help power the resurgence of Newsweek, and Newsweek amplifies the range of talent and audience The Daily Beast can reach. The two entities together offer writers, photographers and marketers a powerful dual platform.

Diller added:

I am really excited we were able to (finally) put this together. In The Daily Beast, Tina and her truly great team have in Internet-time created an hourly, daily newsmagazine and now will have the ability to revive the weekly venerable Newsweek with all the tools and sensibility they’ve perfected in the Beast. I’m so pleased to join with Dr. Harman in our new company. He’s such a compelling force and I’m sure he will stimulate this undertaking every day.

And Colvin said:

Consumers and advertisers value media distributed across multiple platforms. The merger of The Daily Beast and Newsweek audiences creates a powerful global media property for the digital age.