Back in February, Barry Diller, the billionaire media mogul, was asked about recent reporting in The New York Times that he was considering selling the Daily Beast, the news outlet he founded with Tina Brown in 2008. “We may,” Diller told PBS’ Margaret Hoover—whose husband, John Avlon, once ran the site. “I hope very much that if we do sell it, we will be selling it into an enterprise that will grow it and not strip it. That I really don’t want to do,” Diller continued. “I will resist that a lot.” He called the Beast “a good product,” while admitting, “I wish it didn’t cost so much money to operate it.”

In the Times story, Ben Mullin reported that IAC, the holding company founded by Diller which also owns People, Better Homes and Gardens, and Southern Living, had “hired the advisory firm Whisper Advisors to explore the sale of The Daily Beast,” a process that was at that point, in January, “in the early stages” and “may not result in a deal.” Mullin noted that the price the outlet might command was unclear. Speculation about a potential sale was exacerbated when, a month after the Times story, the New York Post reported that Business Insider CEO Henry Blodget had been spotted at IAC’s headquarters, where, according to sources, he met with Daily Beast CEO Heather Dietrick and editor in chief Tracy Connor.

Nearly six months later, it’s unclear what the future holds for the Daily Beast, though I’m told that conversations around the sale process are still very active. Staffers I spoke to said they’ve largely been in the dark about the sale in recent months. “There has been uncertainty and little information shared by management, but reporters haven’t been jumping from the airplane’s exit,” as one put it. “For the most part I think management is pretty up front about what they know, and what they know is not a lot. Every media outlet is fucked right now, so we’re hoping just to be stable,” said another. “We’re all at the whims of Barry and what he wants to do.” (IAC declined to comment.)

Sources familiar with the matter said that a handful of parties have expressed interest in buying it, including, at one point, Michael Reinstein, the founder and chairman of the private equity firm Regent. (Their portfolio includes a few media properties, such as the publisher of DefenseNews. Reinstein did not respond to multiple requests for comment). BDG Media CEO Bryan Goldberg—who has a history of gobbling up and then gutting publications—was said to have sought sale information, but IAC pushed back on it. BDG, however, denied this: “BDG has never expressed interest or requested a deck,” a spokesperson said.

“Barry has always had a very strong soft spot for the Beast is the truth,” Brown—who ran Vanity Fair and then was the editor in chief of The New Yorker and Talk magazine before launching the Daily Beast—told me in an email. “I am not even sure he will end up selling it unless he can find a secure home. Finding a business model for digital news is extremely vexing and I sense his preference would be to keep it going somehow. The losses are a rounding error, after all for IAC,” she said. “With the election coming up my wish would be to see them hire four great new investigative reporters and go full throttle. With so many news sites cutting reporters there could be a real opportunity for the Beast to grow subscribers.”

Since its founding, the Daily Beast has become known as a scrappy site that often punches above its weight, with scoops across politics, media, and pop culture. After Brown, the site was led by Avlon, and then Noah Shachtman, who handed the reins to Connor in 2021 when he left to take over Rolling Stone. Connor is less of a public-facing figure than her predecessors, but has kept up the site’s signature high-low mix and punchy headlines. A person I spoke to noted that the influence of the brand has diminished over the years with the loss of top talent like Olivia Nuzzi, Sam Stein, Spencer Ackerman, Max Tani, and Asawin Suebsaeng. Still, they’ve continued to publish scoops, gaining particular attention for a series of bombshells by Roger Sollenberger on Herschel Walker last October, and Lachlan Cartwright’s weekly media newsletter “Confider.”