November 3, 2013

Businessman wants to buy Philadelphia Inquirer

Multimillionaire Raymond Perelman says he is hoping to bring an end to a court battle for control of the company.

The Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA – Multimillionaire businessman and philanthropist Raymond Perelman is hoping to buy the Philadelphia Inquirer, but he doesn’t expect the current owners to sell.

Perelman said his goal is to end the strife between two factions that are battling in court for control of the company’s three media properties, the Inquirer reported Sunday.

“Something has to happen,” Perelman told the paper. “The feuding can’t continue.”

The 96-year-old Perelman has pursued The Inquirer, the Philadelphia Daily News, and Philly.com before. His latest expression of interest comes amid the ongoing legal battle between co-owners George E. Norcross III and Lewis Katz, and other partners.

Katz and fellow co-owner H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest filed suit against Norcross and three other partners, seeking a court order to reverse last month’s firing of Inquirer editor William K. Marimow.

“I’d like to buy them all out, but I don’t think all of them will sell,” Perelman said.

Perelman is the only outsider to go public with an offer to invest in the company. Leaders of the Newspaper Guild, the union representing the newsrooms and other IGM employees, have said they are seeking new investors to try to end the impasse.

Union officials have declined to name the prospects, but said that Perelman was not among them. Perelman heads privately held RGP Holdings Inc., which includes manufacturing, mining and financial interests.

In 2010, Perelman and the Carpenters Union pension fund bid for the three media properties in a bankruptcy auction. They lost out to a group of hedge funds and investment banks that held the company’s debt. He sought to try to buy the paper last year as well, but was not allowed to bid.

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