By Steve Tawa

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The date is set, and the rival co-owners of the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News are ready to bid, but there remains a sticking point in the auction to determine who will become the sole owner of the troubled media company.

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A week from tomorrow, each side takes a seat at the poker table and will have alternating opportunities to submit incremental bids, within ten minutes of the other faction, each at least $1 million higher than the previous bid.

The bidding will start at $77 million.  That’s the minimum figure the three-person faction led by George Norcross and his rivals, Lewis Katz and Gerry Lenfest have pledged.

But the Newspaper Guild, representing hundreds of reporters, photographers, and others at the two daily newspapers, is requesting public access to the bidding and the final price.

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“The irony here is that if you’re trying to buy a newspaper company, why would you try to block the press from attending an auction to see who the new owner’s going to be?” wondered Bill Ross, executive director of the Guild.

The auctioneer will provide separate rooms to each group to enable them to consult outside the presence of the opposing side.  A winner emerges when the other side fail to submit an incremental bid within the ten-minute limit.


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