Philadelphia Media Network sells for $55 million, Lenfest to chair the board

    The Philadelphia Media Network has sold for “approximately $55 million,” according to a press release, and TV mogul Gerry Lenfest will be chairman of the board. Greg Osberg will stay on as publisher.

    The company, which publishes the Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News, and SportsWeek, was sold to a group of investors that includes businessman Lewis Katz and New Jersey Democratic political powerhouse George E. Norcross III.

    Lenfest is teaming up with Katz; Norcross; William P. Hankowsky, the chairman and CEO of Liberty Property Trust and chairman of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce; Dr. Kris Singh, president and CEO of Holtec International, a Marlton energy and technology company; and Joseph Buckelew, chairman of Connor Strong and Buckelew, to form Interstate General Media, LLC.

    “There were a lot safer places to [put] my money, at my age, than a news organization,” Katz said during the announcement.

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    Norcross announced the new owners have signed a “non-interference pledge” after concerns arose earlier this year about news coverage of leadership changes being squashed.

    He said there is also an “additional investment of as much as $10 million in working capital to operate the company.”

    The ownership change is rumored to bring another round of layoffs to the papers, which is still fresh off a series of layoffs and buyouts from late last month. But Norcross sang a different tune during the press conference.

    “Norcross says ‘we hope to grow this enterprise, not lay people off,'” editor Wendy Warren tweeted from the news conference.

    WHYY/NewsWorks’ Dave Davies will have the details from the press conference.

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