Lewis Katz’s son sells share of Philadelphia papers to Gerry Lenfest

Big Trial | Philadelphia Magazine | Philly.com

The son of the late Lewis Katz will sell his interest in Interstate General Media, Ralph Cipriano reported Tuesday for Big Trial. Lewis Katz won an interest in several publications, including the Philadelphia Inquirer, two weeks ago. He died in a plane crash on May 31. But, Cipriano wrote, tension between Drew Katz and his father’s partner in the deal, H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest, already existed and got worse after Lewis Katz’s death.

Even though the sale wasn’t formally supposed to close until June 11th, Lenfest had already taken over. He put his name on the Inquirer masthead as interim publisher. On June 2nd, Lenfest announced in an email to all employees that he was bringing back former Inky publisher Brian Tierney as a sales consultant and former Tierney lieutenant Mark Frisby as associate publisher for operations.

On Tuesday night, Joel Mathis wrote about Katz’s announcement for Philadelphia Magazine. Mathis reported that Katz denied the sale was because of a fallout.

“Because of the turmoil of the last 10 days, I have made a decision that it would be in the best interests of the Inquirer, Daily News and Philly.com for me to sell my interest in the company,” Drew Katz said in an email Tuesday night. “I believe strongly that the organization would be in excellent hands under the ownership of Gerry Lenfest now and in the years to come.”

Chris Hepp and Bob Moran wrote about the sale for Philly.com.

Reached in Berlin by telephone Wednesday morning, Lenfest confirmed the sale and said he expected an agreement to be completed during the day. He declined to provide details until it was completed.

A sale would leave Lenfest as the sole majority owner of Interstate General Media Holdings L.L.C., which he purchased with Lewis Katz for $88 million at auction May 27. The company employs about 1,800 people at The Inquirer, the Philadelphia Daily News, three websites, and a printing plant near Conshohocken.

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