What Does Newsweek Want?

The Newsweek auction has taken a turn toward the fanciful.

The weekly magazine, which was put up for sale last month by The Washington Post Co., is seeking bids of between $15 million and $20 million, according to a banking source said. The relatively high price tag comes despite the fact that Newsweek does not have EBITDA.

“No, I don’t think they will get it,” the source said.

Is this a wild swing for the fences? Is it just a trial balloon? Maybe a bit of both, since a buyside source said he hadn’t heard the $20 million figure (no comment on the $15m).

Last week, the Newsweek auction hit the second round and was in management presentations, sources said. Our Thomson Reuters colleagues recently reported that at least four interested parties have submitted bids (we hear it’s more), including Newsmax Media and Ritchie Capital CEO Thane Ritchie.

peHUB has learned that OpenGate Capital, which bought TV Guide in 2008 for $1, also is bidding. It is not clear if Sidney Harman, who founded Harman International Industries Inc., is in the mix.

The Washington Post Co., which has owned Newsweek since 1961, put the magazine up for sale in early May. Outside of OpenGate, private equity is not expected to be involved in the Newsweek auction because the magazine has no EBITDA.