Tina Brown Was Opposed to Newsbeast Until the Last Minute [Updated]


The Observer's tick-tock of the Newsweek–Daily Beast merger reveals that Tina Brown, empress of print, was not in favor of taking over the 77-year-old weekly:

"We don't want to do this!" Ms. Brown and Beast president Stephen Colvin told Mr. [Barry] Diller. The IAC chairman, who wanted a deal, asked them to reconsider. Go off and sit in a room together, he said. Think about it. No pressure. Then come back in an hour.

She ate drank a Sprite Zero and ate a tuna sandwich, and ultimately decided she could handle the extra work.

It's surprising that Diller, the billionaire and cold-eyed businessman, was the one pushing for the deal. The Observer lays out the business logic:

Ms. Brown's Beast reportedly loses $10 million a year, and in 2009 Newsweek lost $28 million. The premise that together the two will somehow make money has struck more than a few people as insane—but the bleeding may be more stoppable than people realize. Ms. Brown's name brings in print-ad dollars all by itself. Newsweek's move from pricey West Village digs to the dodgy space at 7 Hanover Square will save $6.3 million in rent and operating costs alone. And there will be layoffs as the two staffs merge. (The incentive is to make those cuts from the Newsweek side of things, as the Washington Post Co. has agreed to cover some of those costs for up to one year.)

The "Newsweek side of things" — could that include the restless natives at the old magazine's website?

The Tina Brown turnaround [NYO]