Billionaire Burkle Joins Local Group as Three Bidders Emerge for Philly Newspapers

By: E&P Staff

California billionaire Ronald Burkle — who several times has made offers for big daily newspapers that never came to fruition — is committed to help fund the local group bidding for The Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News at Tuesday’s auction.

The deadline for offers for the newspapers closed Friday with three bidders, according to published reports: the local group put together by Philadelphia Newspapers CEO Brian P. Tierney; the senior creditors of the company; and Stern Partners, the Vancouver, British Columbia-based group that owns a controlling stake in the Winnipeg Free Press and eight other papers.

An Inquirer report by staff writer Christopher K. Hepp said Burkle became involved after he was contacted by Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell at Tierney’s request. The group — which has adopted the slogan “Go Local” — may go forward without funding from Burkle if they can raise sufficient money without him, Hepp wrote, citing an unnamed source.

The Inquirer reported the local group is bidding $35 million in cash and a $17 million letter of credit for the newspaper assets, excluding its headquarters building.

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