Daily Beast Says IAC Decides to Hold On to Online Publication

IAC/InterActiveCorp (IACI) has ruled out a sale or shutdown of the Daily Beast even after its split with Newsweek and founding editor Tina Brown’s departure, the online publication said.

IAC has approved the website’s operating budget for 2014 “in concept,” Rhona Murphy, interim chief executive officer of the Daily Beast, said today in a memo to staff, according to a statement posted online. The site will be redesigned to keep traffic growing, the company said.

The future of the Daily Beast, founded in 2008 by Brown and IAC Chairman Barry Diller, was thrown into doubt earlier this month when she announced she’d leave to start a new venture focusing on conferences. IAC acquired a stake in Newsweek in 2010 and combined it with the Daily Beast online, only to sell it last month after struggling to make it profitable.

“If you removed the failed experiment to revive Newsweek, the story of The Daily Beast is one of excellence in reporting, in design, and in digital distribution,” Diller said in the statement.

While the company hadn’t made any formal moves to offer the website for sale, Brown had explored the idea with Diller before announcing her departure, people familiar with the matter have said.

The Daily Beast averages more than 15 million unique visitors a month, with traffic up 22 percent this year, the company said, citing figures from Adobe Systems Inc. (ADBE)’s Omniture unit.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sarah Frier in New York at sfrier1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Nick Turner at nturner7@bloomberg.net

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