Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Newspaper guild says papers have a potential buyer

Co-owners of The Philadelphia Inquirer, George Norcross (left) and Lewis Katz (right) on Monday, Oct. 28, 2013, in City Hall in Philadelphia. McInerney must decide if a dispute over control of The Philadelphia Inquirer belongs in her court or in Delaware, where a group of powerful, now-feuding owners incorporated last year. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Co-owners of The Philadelphia Inquirer, George Norcross (left) and Lewis Katz (right) on Monday, Oct. 28, 2013, in City Hall in Philadelphia. McInerney must decide if a dispute over control of The Philadelphia Inquirer belongs in her court or in Delaware, where a group of powerful, now-feuding owners incorporated last year. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

WITH THE OWNERS of the Daily News, Inquirer and Philly.com locked in a legal battle, the media company's largest union said yesterday that it has a suitor who is potentially interested in buying the company.

The Newspaper Guild of Greater Philadelphia declined to reveal the potential buyer, but said the party is interested in purchasing the entire company or a majority stake from parent company Interstate General Media, whose owners include wealthy New Jersey businessman Lewis Katz and powerful South Jersey Democrat George Norcross.

"The potential buyer has asked to remain secret until one or both of the groups is willing to sell," said Howard Gensler, president of the guild, which represents reporters, editors, photographers and others at the company.

He added, "The guild would like to have an ownership stake if we can facilitate this. We're just fed up with the situation, and it's become clear they can't work together, so either one side has to go or both sides have to go."

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  • Gensler said the union presented the idea to the owners over the past week, but has been rebuffed.

    Earlier this month, Katz and Norcross filed dueling lawsuits, stemming from the firing of Inquirer editor Bill Marimow by publisher Bob Hall.

    Katz has accused Norcross and other owners of not having the authority to fire the editor. Norcross claims Katz has broken his pledge to remain removed from editorial operations at the paper and Philly.com.

    The guild's statement also chastised the ownership for "owner-on-owner accusations" and urged the parties to settle the dispute quickly before "wasting potentially millions of dollars on legal fees."

    The majority owners, which includes Norcross, issued a statement last night supporting the guild's "commitment to the long term interests of the company."

    Katz said in an email of the guild statement: "I think they are right on. I find no fault in their purpose and in their conclusions."

    - Solomon Leach

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