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Two Bidders Out in Newsweek Sweepstakes

Newsmax, private equity manager Thane Ritchie will not submit bids today.



By Jason Fell
07/01/2010

As the 5 p.m. deadline looms today for interested parties to submit their bids to acquire Newsweek magazine, a pair of those potential bidders have confirmed that they no longer are in the running.

Conservative-leaning political magazine brand Newsmax Media, headed by founder and CEO Christopher Ruddy, will not be submitting a final bid this afternoon. “Newsmax Media made a serious bid to acquire Newsweek, which we believe is an extraordinary publishing property with great potential as both a print and online product,” the company says in a statement e-mailed to FOLIO:. “We will not be participating in the final bid process, but the company remains committed to its long term objective to diversify and expand into numerous distinct media brand offerings.”

Another interested party, a group backed by private equity manager Thane Ritchie, also will not be participating in the Newsweek bidding process. A spokesperson for Ritchie declined to comment when asked why the group won’t continue with the bidding process.

A spokesperson for Newsweek parent the Washington Post Company declined to comment when asked whether Newsmax and the Ritchie-backed group removed themselves from the process or if their offers were rejected by the company.

Others Still in the Fray

Three other groups appear to still be interested in placing bids for Newsweek. One is said to be audio equipment magnate Sidney Harman.

Another is a group headed by Fred Drasner, a former partner of Mort Zuckerman who helped negotiate his deals for the Daily News, Atlantic Monthly and Fast Company. Although Drasner could not be immediately reached for comment, one knowledgeable source says he is very interested in acquiring the title and is “genuinely concerned about the quality of journalism in the country.”

A third bidder is OpenGate Capital, the private equity firm that acquired the print edition of TV Guide from Macrovision in 2008 for just $1. Since then, the firm has been active in 2010, announcing three additional acquisitions through April. OpenGate founder and managing partner Andrew Nikou did not immediately return an e-mail seeking comment.

Any announcement concerning a wining bidder for Newsweek isn’t expected for at least several weeks.

By Jason Fell
07/01/2010




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