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Workers plan joint bid for Philly newspapers

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 13, 2014 at 12:35 pm •  Published: January 13, 2014
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PHILADELPHIA (AP) — After another tumultuous year on the job, frustrated workers at Philadelphia's two largest newspapers vowed Monday to bid against feuding owners if the company again goes on the auction block.

The local Newspaper Guild would join with an unnamed partner to bid on The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News and Philly.com, according to court papers.

They would likely compete against two wealthy owners who want to force each other out. The company changed hands five times from 2006 to 2012 and appears likely to be sold again amid the power struggle, which moved to court over the October firing of Inquirer editor Bill Marimow. A judge later returned him to the job, although his contract ends this spring.

"The company seems to be gridlocked. No major decisions can be made," Bill Ross, the guild's executive director, said after a brief court hearing Monday. "There's no leadership."

The rival owners — George Norcross, an insurance executive and Democratic political force, and Lewis Katz, the former owner of the New Jersey Nets — are expected to mount competing bids if a judge agrees to dissolve their union.

The media company, worth $515 million in 2006, sold for about a tenth of that in 2012 when Norcross and Katz joined with other local investors to buy it from hedge fund owners. In exchange for $6 million in concessions, the new owners promised the guild a yet-to-be-determined share of profits if the company turned the corner in 2014, guild officials said.

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