Lenders win Philadelphia papers auction

    The secured lenders have once again won the bankruptcy auction for Philadelphia’s two daily newspapers and their website with a $105 million cash bid.

    The secured lenders have once again won the bankruptcy auction for Philadelphia’s two daily newspapers and their website with a $105 million cash bid. They pledged to honor the labor contracts negotiated before their previous deal collapsed. But one contract remains in the balance.

    The lenders out-bid 93-year-old philanthropist Raymond Perelman who wanted the two newspapers controlled by local interests.

    The lenders promised to keep publishing the Inquirer and Daily News, avoid newsroom layoffs for a year, and honor the 14 negotiated labor contracts. But the fate of the Teamsters union is still unclear. The Teamsters do not want to give up their pensions in exchange for a 401K plan.

    Greg Osberg is CEO of the new company formed by the lenders. Osberg says the auction terms require them to close the deal in the next several weeks.

    “So we are going to be closing. So there’s some finality that’s around the corner. So we hope that will encourage the Teamsters will sit down and talk because we are the only option for them in continuing to keep this company operating.”

    The lenders won a previous auction but failed to close the deal because of the labor impasse with the Teamsters.

    The Teamsters union could not be reached for comment.

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