Newsweek and Daily Beast agree merger

NEW YORK Fri Nov 12, 2010 11:01am EST

Tina Brown, founder of www.thedailybeast.com, asks a question to Richard Holbrooke, U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan (R) during a panel discussion at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York September 21, 2010. REUTERS/Chip East

Tina Brown, founder of www.thedailybeast.com, asks a question to Richard Holbrooke, U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan (R) during a panel discussion at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York September 21, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Chip East

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Website Daily Beast (www.thedailybeast.com) and magazine Newsweek have agreed a deal to combine, Daily Beast co-founder and editor Tina Brown said, just weeks after abandoning merger talks.

The agreement will combine the two groups in a 50-50 joint venture called the Newsweek Daily Beast Company. Management will report to an independent board.

Brown, Daily Beast's co-founder and a former editor of The New Yorker and Talk magazines, will be editor-in-chief of the new group.

"Some weddings take longer to plan than others," Brown wrote in on the Daily Beast website early on Friday, saying the deal had been agreed "with a coffee-mug toast" on Tuesday evening and finalized Thursday night.

Brown last month wrote on the Daily Beast website, which is owned by IAC/InterActiveCorp, that "the engagement was fun but the pre-nup got too complex."

Newsweek has been without an editor since its owner, stereo magnate Sidney Harman, bought the magazine from The Washington Post Co for a token cash price of $1 in a deal that closed in September.

Harman, the 92-year old audio equipment tycoon, will be executive chairman of the new venture while Daily Beast President Stephen Colvin will be chief executive.

The Wall Street Journal, which initially reported the deal, said the magazine was on track to lose about $20 million this year when Harman made the purchase, adding that The Daily Beast will lose about $10 million this year.

(Reporting by Yinka Adegoke and Elinor Comlay; Editing by Lincoln Feast

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