Philadelphia newspaper sale called off


Having failed to come to terms with the Teamsters Union, Philadelphia Media Network Inc. has called off its $139 million purchase of the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News. A new bankruptcy court auction is set for next week.

The Inquirer reports that Federal Bankruptcy Judge Stephen Raslavich terminated the purchase by Philadelphia Media Network, owned by the senior lenders of the newspapers’ parent company, Philadelphia Newspapers LLC, which had been top bidder at an auction in April. A new auction is set for next Thursday (9/23).

The head of the Teamsters Union local which represents the newspapers’ drivers was celebrating, but his union was attacked in a statement by the Newspaper Guild, the union which represents editorial workers at the papers, which accused the Teamsters of jeopardizing “thousands of jobs and the entire company.” The Teamsters Local 628 was the only one of 16 unions which failed to come to terms with Philadelphia Media Network on a new contract.

Philadelphia Media Network said it plans to bid again next Thursday. It was not clear whether there would be other bidders – or at what price. Philadelphia Newspapers LLC owed $318 million when it filed Chapter 11 in February 2009.