Jon Meacham told The Observer in May, when the Newsweek sale was announced, that he had voicemails from “two billionaires.” Maybe one of those messages was from Sidney Harman, who ultimately bought the magazine.
In any case, he’s not a billionaire, according to Forbes. Mr. Harman is only a $500 millionaire; a mere demi-billionaire. William Barrett writes on his Forbes blog that he knows this becuase Mr. Harman never made it on the magazine’s list of 400 Richest Americans. The brokest man on the list now is Sam Wyly, who is worth $950 million. (“The bottom spot on the Forbes 400 is now around $1 billion,” writes Mr. Barrett. Are we splitting hairs about who’s a billionaire or not?)
The New York Times introduced Mr. Harman as a “California billionaire who made his fortune selling audio equipment” in an article last month. But calculating anybody’s net worth is tricky business. Mr. Harman’s stake in Harman International Industries, his audio equipment company, is no longer disclosed publicly, according to Mr. Barrett.
Mr. Barrett also speculates about the cost of maintaining Mr. Harman’s houses in Los Angeles and Washington. Let’s just leave it at he “lives very well.”