Philly newspapers go on the auction block this morning

The Philadelphia Inquirer

At 9:30 Tuesday morning, owners of The Philadelphia Inquirer, the Philadelphia Daily News and Philly.com will bid for control of the properties and their parent company in an auction, David Sell wrote Tuesday in The Inquirer. (UPDATE: They were sold for $88 million to Lewis Katz’s group.)

The two groups in that auction, which is closed to both the public and the press, are George E. Norcross III, William Hankowsky and Joseph Buckelew, Sell reported, and Katz and H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest.

The dispute erupted and litigation began in October, when publisher Robert F. Hall fired Inquirer editor William K. Marimow over the objection of Katz. A Philadelphia judge reinstated Marimow, but denied Katz’s request to have Hall removed.

The dispute prompted the two groups to seek to dissolve the company, with the auction used to decide who gains control.

Norcross already submitted $77 million as the opening bid, Sell reported. On Sunday, Sell wrote about how we’ve gotten to this point and what it could mean to the media in Philadelphia.

What happens that morning is likely to have a lasting impact – and not just on the 1,800 employees who work for The Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News, philly.com, and at a plant IGM owns outside Conshohocken. Through hearings in Philadelphia and Delaware, court filings, and public statements, both men have made clear they have different visions for the company, long a dominant local news source for hundreds of thousands in the region.

Angelo Fichera, a reporter at The Inquirer, is tweeting the auction.

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  • Dave Lieber

    Wonderful news: Angelo Fichera ‏@AJFichera tweets Lewis Katz and H.F. ‘Gerry’ Lenfest win bid for parent company of Inquirer for $88 million.