The Washington Post Co. said Wednesday it is exploring the sale of Newsweek, another sign of how the global magazine industry is struggling.

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A Newsweek cover from Nov. 23, 2009, featuring a photo of former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin. ((Brian Adams/Associated Press/Newsweek) )

The company said it has retained the investment bank Allen & Co. to help find a buyer for the money-losing magazine.

The Post has owned the 77-year-old magazine, which recently went through a complete redesign, since 1961.

Advertising revenue has been falling across the industry and Newsweek has lost money since 2007.

The magazine has lost about a quarter of its staff to voluntary buyouts over the past two years, ending in 2009 with 427 full-time employees.

Despite those savings, the chairman of the Post, Donald E. Graham, said in a statement he expects those losses to continue this year.

"Newsweek's staff has been remarkable in cutting expenses and putting out a great magazine," Graham said in an interview. "But we did not see a path to sustained profitability within the company."

"Newsweek is a lively, important magazine and website, and in the current climate, it might be a better fit elsewhere," he said.

Magazines in general have seen advertising revenue drop with the recession but news magazines have been hit especially hard by competition from up-to-the-second online news.

The Post Co.'s magazine division had an operating loss of $29.3 million US last year, compared with a $16.1-million loss the year before.

Newsweek sold about 26 per cent fewer ad pages in 2009 than the year before, according to the Publishers Information Bureau. That percentage decline was consistent with the industry average.

With files from The Associated Press