The Newspaper Guild of Philadelphia announced it would not enter a bid for the Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily News and Philly.com because of the loss of financial backing.
The guild, which represents hundreds of writers, photographers and other staff, had the verbal commitment of several investors, including 96-year-old multimillionaire Raymond Pearleman.
However, after reviewing the financial records of the media group, the potential investors thought the $77 million staring bid was too high, being as much as eight times above the organization’s projected 2014 cash flow.
Attorneys said similar sales of newspapers have taken place at about 3.6 percent of a company’s cash flow, putting the Inquirer’s value in the $30 million range.
Co-owners of the enterprise, Lewis Katz and George Norcross, said they are comfortable with the starting bid because it would allow them to pay back both their debt and their business partners.
Katz and Norcross have been at odds about how to run their media enterprise and have been arguing for months over how the partnership should be dissolved.
Norcross wants a private auction among the current shareholders, with each bid increasing by $1 million until someone backs out.
Katz wants a public auction, which would allow third parties to participate. The bidders would submit one sealed bid; the highest offer would win.
Delaware Vice Chancellor Donald Parsons heard final arguments on Thursday and will soon decide how the enterprise should be sold.