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Mort Zuckerman's latest attempt to expand his media empire has failed, it seems. Reuters is reporting the real estate developer and owner of the Daily News and US News has decided to drop out of the race to acquire BusinessWeek, possibly because he sensed execs at the mag's parent company, McGraw-Hill, are more interesting in doing a deal with Bloomberg LP instead.

It's the third time Zuckerman's expansion efforts have been thwarted in less than a decade. In 2008, Zuckerman unsuccessfully pursued an acquisition of Newsday; five years before that, Bruce Wasserstein topped him in the race to buy New York.

But if Zuckerman is really that determined to invest in print media, maybe now would be a good time to give Condé Nast chairman Si Newhouse a call? What value he'd bring to a food magazine like Gourmet isn't clear, but now that Condé Nast has decided to close it down, he'd probably be able to buy it for a song. And given the outpouring of affection for the 68-year-old magazine in recent days, saving it from the fire of the economic downturn would almost certainly bolster his rep.

Mort: If you're reading this, call 212-286-2860 and ask to speak to Si or Chuck. Hero status awaits!

OpenGate, Zuckerman drop BusinessWeek bid [Reuters]