Contact Us
Make My Homepage

Philly Newspapers to Be Sold to Insiders

Philadelphia’s two largest newspapers will be sold at an ascending-bid auction open only to insiders, a Delaware judge ruled Friday.

The decision is a victory for majority owner George Norcross in his fight for control of The Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News.

Norcross and fellow investor Lewis Katz have been locked in a fight over how to run the company, prompting the troubled media company’s latest sale.

Philadelphia skyline
Philadelphia skyline. (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Both men have pledged to open with a starting bid of $77 million, which would make their 2012 investing partners whole. In his order, Chancery Court Judge Donald Parsons Jr. set that starting bid, and ordered that the auction take place by May 28.

Katz had fought for the company to be sold at a sealed-bid auction open to anyone, arguing it would bring the highest price. Norcross’ lawyers said a live, ascending-bid auction would allow the parties to continually evaluate whether to bid more for the company or cash out.

The company, which also operates the Philly.com website, is being sold for the fifth time since 2006.

Norcross and Katz led a small group of local investors who paid $55 million for it in 2012. However, they soon fought over business and newsroom decisions, including the tenure of Inquirer editor William Marimow. Norcross tried to fire him, but a Philadelphia judge returned Marimow to the job last fall. However, his contract expires next week.

Norcross, who favors “hyper-local” coverage, holds a 52 percent stake in the company, and his faction a 58 percent stake. Katz holds a 26 percent stake, and his ally, philanthropist H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest, holds a 16 percent stake.

However, Katz and Lenfest set up a two-man management committee that forces them to agree on key decisions. Instead, it led to the impasse.

Norcross is one of the most powerful figures in the Philadelphia-South Jersey region, with interests in media, health care, education, banking, insurance and politics.

Katz made his fortune investing in a parking empire and a sports TV network in New York City.

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

Leave a Comment

It appears that you already have an account created within our VIP network of sites on . To keep your points and personal information safe, we need to verify that it's really you. To activate your account, please confirm your password. When you have confirmed your password, you will be able to log in through Facebook on both sites.

Forgot your password?

*Please note that your points, prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

It appears that you already have an account on this site associated with . To connect your existing account with your Facebook account, just click on the account activation button below. You will maintain your existing profile and VIP program points. After you do this, you will be able to always log in to http://nj1015.com using your Facebook account.

*Please note that your points, prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

Please fill out the information below to help us provide you a better experience.

Register on New Jersey 101.5 quickly by logging in with your Facebook account. It's just as secure, and no password to remember!

Not a Member? Sign Up Here

Register on New Jersey 101.5 quickly by logging in with your Facebook account. It's just as secure, and no password to remember!