Media banned from Inquirer auction

By The Penn Record | May 22, 2014

A Delaware judge has ruled that the media may not have access to next week's auction of Interstate General Media Holdings L.L.C., the parent company for the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Philadelphia Daily News.

According to, Delaware Court of Chancery Vice Chancellor Donald F. Parsons Jr. ruled that only the two parties that will bid for the company may be present at the auction, scheduled to take place May 27 at 9:30 a.m. at Dechert L.L.P. on Arch Street, near 30th Street Station.

The bidding will start at $77 million, the website reports, with each party allowed to up the price by $1 million every 10 minutes, until no more bids are made. The two sides vying ownership of the media company represent a  split between the current owners. On one side is George E. Norcross III, Joseph Buckelew, and William P. Hankowsky, with Lewis Katz and H.F. "Gerry" Lenfest on the other.

The Newspaper Guild of Greater Philadelphia sought to join the auction as a third party bidder, but the group's request was denied. However, the judge did agree with the guild that the ultimate winner and the final price should be made public.

All senior level employees are permitted to keep their jobs until the prevailing side is declared. In particular, veteran editor William Marimow will stay in his position if Katz and Lenfest are successful. Norcross had fired Marimow in Oct. 2013, but a Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas reversed the move on the grounds that it violated the ownership team's operations agreement that established a management committee which would make critical decisions about the company.

Norcross and Katz headed an investment group that purchased the media holdings, which also includes, in 2012 for $55 million.

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