Cablevision Joins Bidding War for ‘Newsday’?

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By: E&P Staff

Newsday, which has a stake in the outcome to be sure, reports this afternoon that Cablevision Systems Corp. “appears to have joined the bidding” for the newspaper, offering $650 million — or $70 million more than two other suitors, “according to knowledgeable sources.”

The other bidders are companies run by Rupert Murdoch and Mort Zuckerman.

Meanwhile, The New York Times reports late today, “The escalating contest for ownership of Newsday took a couple of new twists on Wednesday.

“The owners of The New York Observer dropped out of the bidding, while a former suitor, Cablevision, prepared to get back into the competition, people briefed on the matter said Wednesday.

“Cablevision, which signaled weeks ago that it would not pursue Newsday, is putting together a bid of well over $600 million, topping offers from Rupert Murdoch and Mortimer B. Zuckerman, according to people involved in the bidding, who were granted anonymity to discuss confidential information. Cablevision declined to confirm the bid.”

Newday reports: “The cable giant made its interest in owning Newsday known to Sam Zell, chief executive of the paper’s parent Tribune Co.,” Newsday relates. “A formal bid is expected in the next few days, according to sources familiar with Zell’s talks with News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch.

“Few details were known about the Cablevision offer except that it would be a joint venture where Tribune retains a limited ownership of Newsday to reduce capital gains tax, the sources said. They also said it was believed that Cablevision is going solo in its bid rather than partnering with the New York Observer, which had been discussed earlier.

“A Cablevision spokesman declined to comment, as did one for the Observer.

“The size of Cablevision’s offer got the attention of Zell, who has been enamored with Murdoch. You cannot ignore a $70 million gain, but my guess is Rupert will top this,’ said one source.”

The full story is at:

http://www.newsday.com/business/ny-bznews0501,0,499913.story

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