[Update: 4:02 pm] Newsworks reports that Lewis Katz has rejected Norcross’s buyout offer. “Katz summarily rejected the notion in a brief telephone interview, but indicated he’d be open to an idea proposed by the Newspaper Guild that the warring sides bring in an “impartial industry expert” to run Interstate General Media, the company that owns the Inquirer, Daily News, and Philly.com.”
Meanwhile, Bill Ross, executive director of the Newspaper Guild that represents journos at the Inky, DN, and Philly.com, sought to dispel any notion that the union might be taking sides. “The Guild is neutral in this dispute. The press release [from Norcross's group] says they seek to have the Guild as their partner. At this time we have not been approached, nor have we made any offer to partner with either side. We just want this dispute settled. ”
[Original 2:17 pm] Are we in the end game to the war between the owners of the Inquirer, Daily News, and Philly.com? Maybe. One day after the Newspaper Guild offered to broker peace by bringing a new partner to the table to buy some or all of the opposing partnership factions out, the majority faction of owners—which includes Jersey political operative George Norcross—has announced its offer to buy out the minority faction for $29 million. The minority faction includes Lewis Katz and Gerry Lenfest, who are suing their partners over the firing of Inky editor Bill Marimow.
“More than two-and-a-half years ago, when we first met to discuss purchasing the papers and philly.com — a group that did not at the time include Mr. Katz — we did so because we saw clearly troubled journalism properties of great value and importance to the community,” said today’s statement from the majority faction. “In 18 short months, we have reversed the direction of the company, taking it over when it was losing almost $50,000 a day, every day, to being on the path to profitability today. That turn-around is due in large part to the hard work and sacrifices of the employees of the company, investments in our infrastructure and a dramatically improved home delivery revenue. As we made clear when we purchased the company, we have always been in this for the long-haul.”
The statement said the majority would wire $29 million to the minority partners within 24 hours of an agreement.
The full statement from Norcross and William P. Hankowsky, another member of the majority faction, after the jump.
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