Delaware Court Will Oversee Sale of Phila. Inquirer; Auction Rules Still In Limbo

By Steve Tawa

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Now that jurisdiction has been decided on what court will handle the dissolution and sale of the parent company of the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News, the next big question is what form the auction will take.

Attorneys for rival factions argued in both Philadelphia Common Pleas Court and Delaware Chancery Court over jurisdiction, not over the merits of their preferred auction methods.

Lawyers say the judges reached a consensus and decided it should be handled in Delaware, because the company was incorporated there.

The owners’ faction led by George Norcross favors a sale limited to the company’s current owners.  The other owners’ faction in the power struggle, Lewis Katz and Gerry Lenfest, argue that the best way to achieve the maximum value for the company is through an open, public auction.

“Open auctions are very time consuming and they’re very expensive,” says Robert Heim, the lead attorney for Norcross.

Delaware judge Donald Parsons has scheduled a conference call with attorneys on Thursday morning, to begin the process of selecting a liquidating trustee for the eventual sale of the parent company.

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