Judge: Only existing owners can bid on Inquirer, Philly.com and Daily News

    PHILADELPHIA  — A Delaware judge has ruled that Philadelphia’s two largest newspapers will be sold at an ascending-bid auction open only to insiders.



    The decision Friday is a victory for majority owner George Norcross in his fight for control of The Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News.

    Norcross and fellow investor Lewis Katz have been locked in a fight over how to run the company, prompting the latest sale.

    Both men have pledged to open with a starting bid of $77 million, which would make their 2012 investing partners whole.

    The local newspaper guild had hoped to bid with backing from an investor, but said this week they would not match that opening bid.

    Katz had fought for the company to be sold at a sealed-bid auction open to anyone.

    The current ownership team fell apart after Publisher Robert Hall fired Inquirer Editor Bill Marrimow. A legal battle ensured and a judge subsequently reinstated Marimow.

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