NewsCorp Sells the Weekly Standard

The Weekly Standard, founded by editor William Kristol and owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, is now under new ownership.

The conservative magazine has been acquired by Clarity Media, parent company of the Washington Examiner.

The deal, first reported by the L.A. Times on June 10, was made official this afternoon.

Clarity Media Group is owned by conservative billionaire Philip Anschutz, who wants to boost his political influence. Anschutz’s net worth is estimated at around $8 billion, which makes him the 36th richest man in America. Anschutz also owns AEG Entertainment, which operates dozens of sports arenas, including the STAPLES Center, as well as producing concerts and films such as “The Chronicles of Narnia” and “Ray.”

Murdoch was rumored to have been considering sell the Weekly Standard as far back as 2006, before he bought the Wall Street Journal. Some sources think his purchase of the Journal in 2007, which gave him a much more widely circulated medium espousing similar editorial views, was one impetus for his selling the Weekly Standard, but News Corp’s financial situation might have been more important.

News Corp earned $755 million in the first quarter of 2009, down from $1,438 last year. Its newspaper department earned $7 million, down from $216 million, and it lost money on book publishing. Their magazines and inserts department made $4 million more this year, but the Weekly Standard is the only actual magazine they own, and it loses over one million a year, according to a 2006 New Yorker article.

Weekly Standard editor William Kristol said, regarding the sale:

”We at the Weekly Standard are truly pleased to be joining forces with Clarity Media Group. We’re very much looking forward to working with them to produce an even better magazine with a stronger web presence and even larger readership. First-rate owners are hard to come by. We’ve had one. We’re getting another.”