Inky Owners Return to Court to Settle Sale

Judge still trying to decide if future will be decided with private or open auction.

The Inquirer’s feuding owners returned to court in Delaware today to decide if the paper’s future will be decided with a private auction among its current owners or a public auction that brings in outsiders.

George Norcross, who leads the majority faction of owners arguing for a private auction, got first crack at making his argument.

 Inquirer co-owner George E. Norcross III said Monday that when he and Lewis Katz negotiated the agreement to buy the newspaper’s parent company, they agreed that if they ever needed “an amicable divorce,” it would be done through the type of private auction that Norcross now is proposing.

“That is the business deal I negotiated with Lewis,” Norcross said as a hearing opened in the Delaware Court of Chancery to decide how company is dissolved and sold.

Katz and H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest prefer a public auction with single, sealed bids. The auction would occur 45 days after (a judge) gives the order, with potential buyers having 30 days to examine IGM finances after signing a non-disclosure agreement.

No word on the timeline for a decision in the case.