'Budget Travel' Finds Buyer

Monthly Magazine Sold to New York Investment Company

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Newsweek has struck a deal to sell Budget Travel to Fletcher Asset Management, a New York investment company founded in 1991.

Terms were not disclosed. The price was modest enough that the Washington Post Co. is unlikely to consider it material enough to report to shareholders, according to an executive familiar with the deal.

Budget Travel was subjected to alarming shutdown rumors last month, rumors that ultimately seemed to spring from Newsweek's effort to find an equity investor or buyer for the title.

Now it seems, at first blush at least, like operations will continue more or less unchanged under its new owners. Fletcher's website says its philosophy on direct investments "centers on making passive investments in companies with good management" and that it enjoys a reputation as "a long-term, supportive and passive shareholder."

It's not clear whether its philosophy or investment horizon will differ in the case of a wholly-owned property, but early signs are that Fletcher does not plan significant changes. It said today that it intends to support the magazine's current management and keep "essentially all" of its 60 employees.

"We have been proud to publish Budget Travel, a magazine and website that has won many awards and is well-respected in the industry," said Tom Ascheim, CEO of Newsweek, which paid an undisclosed sum to buy Budget Travel in 1999. "We are delighted that under the ownership of Fletcher, Budget Travel's legacy will carry on and its staff will continue to do their great work."

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