By Steve Tawa

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Businessman and philanthropist Gerry Lenfest is now the sole owner of the company that publishes the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News.

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Lenfest says he respects Drew Katz’s decision to sell the Katz family interest in the company (see related story) just 18 days after the sudden loss of his father, Lewis.

Lenfest and Lewis Katz bought out their partners at auction last month for $88 million (related story), but Katz was killed in a private plane crash four days later (related story).

The Katz stake in the company was reported at $16 million, the original investment that Lewis Katz made when he became one of six local business people who bought the company from hedge funds in 2012 (see related story).

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When he and Katz made the rounds to newsroom staff immediately after the auction, Lenfest said they were focused on a search for a new publisher.  Lenfest himself assumed the role of interim publisher, but has indicated that he would be a hands-off owner.

Last week, Lenfest brought on former publisher Brian Tierney as a consultant to help focus on advertising (related story), but Lenfest maintains his stay was temporary, and Tierney would not be leaving his advertising and public relations agency.


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