The Manhattan weekly, which caters to intellectuals, media insiders and others within the chattering classes, has been sold to Jared Kushner, a 25-year-old real-estate executive and business and law student. Though it is a private transaction, reports put the purchase at nearly $10 million.
New York media market
"The Observer is one of the most well-respected papers in the New York media market," Mr. Kushner told Advertising Age. "This is a unique opportunity to get involved in a first-rate publication in the media capital of the world."
For more than a year, Observer editor Peter Kaplan said, management has been listening to interested parties. Mr. Kushner was the "last and best."
"I'm very thrilled," Mr. Kaplan said. "It's a chance for this paper, which is a very wonderful brand, to make good on its potential. ... I think [Mr. Kushner] is somebody who understands that publishing today is a frontier. We're going to go into this frontier together."
Arthur Carter, the Observer's founder and former publisher, will continue to participate in the publishing life of the paper, retaining an undisclosed stake. (He will also be on hand to offer advice to Mr. Kushner.) Two weeks ago he came close to closing a deal with Tribeca Enterprises (of which Robert DeNiro is a partner) to sell a majority interest in the paper when negotiations fell apart. It was then that Mr. Kushner's name came up in the press as a possible buyer.
Prison sentence for Dad
"I hope to get involved on the business side and help give guidance, and roll my sleeves and dig into making the business work," said Mr. Kushner, whose family is in the real-estate business. His father, who owns the Kushner Cos., is currently serving a two-year prison sentence for tax evasion.
Mr. younger Kushner is pursuing degrees in both law and business at New York University with plans to complete them in spring 2007.
The pink-papered weekly has a circulation of about 50,000, and loses about $2 million a year. On getting the paper out of this hole and to profitability, Mr. Kushner has a few ideas, and in time they should speak for themselves. "Check back in six months," he said.