Politically, at least two have been staunch Republican donors, two have been Democratic supporters, and two have given to both. Two are women, and one is African American. And for at least one, Catholicism and religion-related activism have been a major facet of his work.
As a local privately held company, Philadelphia Media Holdings L.L.C. will not have to obey Wall Street on profit and spending, free to tailor all its resources and priorities to the regional media market for the first time since Walter H. Annenberg was publisher in 1969, Tierney said.
But at the same time, its local owners will have a huge stake in what the newspapers say about their other ventures and issues, setting up a potential test of the owners' commitment to newsroom independence.
Trying to calm concerns about owners' meddling, Tierney said each investor promised, in writing, never to "attempt to interfere in the decisions or the editorial policy of the publisher."
Asked how he would enforce the promise, Tierney said: "Their personal integrity is on the line."
Here is a brief look at the new owners:
Brian P. Tierney, 49, chief executive officer, reportedly investing $5 million to $10 million.
The Drexel Hill native made most of his money from creating and selling successful advertising/public relations firms and representing a variety of big-name clients, including Verizon Communications Inc. and International Business Machines Corp.
His greatest asset, however, may be his formidable business savvy and personality, which both fans and critics say enabled him to beat established media companies in acquiring the Philadelphia newspapers.
Tierney attended Waldron Academy, a private elementary school in Merion, and then Episcopal Academy. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and earned a law degree at night from Widener University.
In 1979, in his early 20s, Tierney joined the staff of the Republican National Committee in Washington and later served in the Reagan administration's Small Business Administration.
In 1989, he created the Tierney Group in Philadelphia and built it into a leading advertising and public relations firm. In 2004, he sold his stake, leaving the company to continue under his name without his involvement. He then cofounded T2 Group, a public relations firm, and later sold it to Advanta Corp., netting $2.7 million in cash plus stock options, according to government filings.
Straddling politics and religion, he headed the GOP's national outreach to Catholics supporting President Bush's 2000 election campaign. In 2003, he ran the unsuccessful Philadelphia mayoral campaign of Republican Sam Katz.
During the last decade, Tierney has given about $200,000 to GOP state and national campaigns, according to campaign disclosures. He gave $123,000 to Katz in 2003. He said yesterday he would cease his political donations and stick to running the new media company.
Tierney, however, will continue as chairman and chief executive officer of Tierney Holdings L.L.C., a private-investment firm. He is investing in Trump's Keystone Redevelopment Partners L.L.C., which is bidding to open a slots parlor in northwest Philadelphia. He is also on the NutriSystem board.
Bruce E. Toll, 63, chairman, reportedly investing about $25 million.
In 1967, a year after graduating from business school at the University of Miami, he cofounded Toll Bros. Inc. with his brother Robert and helped create one of the nation's biggest home builders.
In 1988, Bruce Toll stepped down as Toll Bros.' president and became vice chairman, turning his attention to other business pursuits. He sold substantial portions of his Toll Bros. holdings in the housing boom - freeing up cash to diversify. He has retained stock worth nearly $292 million, according to government filings.
He bought two automobile dealerships, Reedman-Toll Auto World in Langhorne and Roberts Auto Mall in Downingtown. He was chairman of Puresyn Corp., a biotech company in Malvern, and continues to own and manage commercial and apartment properties along the East Coast.
He has been an investor in many private companies, including Aquilent, a provider of Web and IT services to the federal government; Premier Kids Care, a provider of specialized pharmacy services; and Colonial Management Group, a chain of outpatient substance-abuse treatment centers. He was the largest shareholder of recently sold UbiquiTel Inc.
Toll has been an active and generous supporter of Republican politicians, including former Rep. James Greenwood and current U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, federal election filings show.
Leslie A. Brun, 53, director, reportedly just under $10 million.
A native of Haiti and a fluent speaker of Korean and French, Brun made most of his money running Hamilton Lane, a private-equity and hedge-fund firm in Bala Cynwyd that manages investments for four of the nation's largest state pension funds.
A graduate of the State University of New York at Buffalo, Brun began his career with Chemical Bank in Seoul, where he was an assistant vice president.
In 1988, he moved to Philadelphia and cofounded the investment banking group Fidelity Bank before leaving to create Hamilton Lane in 1991. He has also been chairman of the U.S. Small Business Administration's SBIC Advisory Council.
In late 2003, Hamilton Lane sold a 40 percent stake to a group including billionaire Bill Gates' money managers. Brun retired from Hamilton Lane and now is CEO of Sarr Group L.L.C., a private holding company.
Brun is not listed as a major political donor at the federal level.
In an interview this week, Brun said love for his adopted Philadelphia and belief in its need for good newspapers drove him to join the investment group.
"I think it's a good economic investment, and secondly it means a lot to this community to have local ownership of newspapers," Brun said. "People pay lip service to that idea, but I think it's really important."
Carpenters Pension and Annuity Fund of Philadelphia and Vicinity, director, reportedly investing more than $20 million.
Brought into the deal by Brun, the union's $1.3 billion pension fund is run by the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America Metropolitan Regional Council of Philadelphia and Vicinity and the General Building Contractors Association.
The union, headed by Edward Coryell, is a frequent subject of coverage by both newspapers. This month, the papers gave prominent coverage to the carpenters' two-day strike against the General Building Contractors Association. A carpenters' dispute with the stagehands' union at the Convention Center, heavily covered by the papers, helped tarnish Philadelphia's reputation among convention planners.
Union political activism also is a key element of regional politics. During the last eight years, the carpenters' union PAC has given more than $1 million to political candidates, overwhelmingly Democrats.
Despite all that, Coryell said he had no plans to be involved in the newsroom or the papers' labor negotiations this year.
"It is purely an investment, that's it," Coryell said. "I don't call reporters, and I don't call papers. You don't have to worry about that."
William A. Graham 4th, 65, director, investing $20 million.
As CEO of the Graham Co., a Philadelphia-based regional insurance broker, Graham's wealth stems in part from several major government insurance contracts.
Graham, a registered Republican from Gladwyne, gave at least $73,000 last year alone to both sides, including $26,000 to Gov. Rendell, a Democrat, and $25,250 to the campaign fund of House Majority Leader John Perzel, a Philadelphia Republican.
Graham said his company won all the contracts on their merits. He told The Inquirer in 2004 that his firm saved money for its clients and had lowered workers' injuries through workplace education and monitoring.
"I've supported Rendell probably more than any Democrat or Republican," he said yesterday.
He also declared complete faith in Tierney, saying: "He's a person I'd invest $5 million with almost on a handshake. It ended up being about four times that."
Patricia Harron Imbesi, 59, director, investment undisclosed.
The native of Ocean City, N.J., may be the only investor with roots in media. Her father, Paul Harron Sr., owned radio and television stations in Philadelphia and Utica, N.Y. In 1976, he cofounded Harron Communications Corp. with Imbesi's brother, Paul Harron Jr. It was later sold to Adelphia Communications for $1.17 billion.
Since 2000, Imbesi has been a partner in Harron Capital L.P., which the Philadelphia Business Journal has said planned to invest as much as $100 million in media and Internet companies. Imbesi is also a director of the Harron Management Co., of Malvern, and president of Patriarch Management. She recently registered Patriarch Media L.L.C. for the purpose of investing in Philadelphia Media Holdings.
Imbesi also serves on the boards of the Philadelphia Orchestra and Villanova University, among other boards.
In politics, she has contributed to candidates of both parties, including President Bush and Perzel, both Republicans, and U.S. Reps. Chaka Fattah and Robert A. Brady, both Democrats. Since 2002, she has given more than $25,000 to State Sen. Vincent Fumo, a Philadelphia Democrat.
Katherine D. Crothall, 57, director, investment undisclosed.
An entrepreneur in the medical-device industry, Crothall is former founder, president and CEO of Animas Corp., a West Chester manufacturer of insulin pumps. Animas was sold in December to Johnson & Johnson for $509 million.
Crothall, who lives in the Philadelphia area, has a doctorate in electrical engineering and has spent seven years at Hughes Aircraft Co. She founded a high-tech company in Southern California, Laakmann Electro-Optics. She also started Luxar Corp., in Seattle, a maker of carbon dioxide lasers for physicians, and later sold it to ESC Medical Systems, now known as Lumenis Ltd.
Michael Hagan, 43, director, investing $3 million.
The chairman and chief executive officer of NutriSystem Inc., a Horsham company that sells prepared, portion-controlled diet food, had one of his first jobs as an Inquirer paperboy.
Hagan, whose company was the subject of an Inquirer article on Sunday, was part of an investment group that bought controlling shares in NutriSystem in 2002 at 62 cents a share. He still has two million shares, worth $67.12 apiece as of the market's closing yesterday.
He also cofounded Verticalnet Inc., a hot Internet business-to-business venture during the height of the dot-com boom. Its stock crashed when the Internet bubble burst. Hagan is still on its board but not involved in day-to-day operations.
His political giving has been to Democrats, including Sen. John Kerry and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Hagan, noting he considers the newspapers a long-term investment, said the idea of local investors was key. "I'm a Philly native. I can't imagine not opening up the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Daily News. I've been doing that on a daily basis since I could read," he said.
Contact staff writer Thomas Ginsberg at 215-854-4177 or email@example.com.
Contributing to this report were staff writers Craig R. McCoy, Joseph Tanfani, Mark Fazlollah, Linda Loyd, Jane M. Von Bergen, Bob Fernandez, Stacey Burling and Jeff Gelles.
Investors Behind the Purchase
Philadelphia Media Holdings L.L.C. is a private-investment group that is buying The Inquirer, Daily News and other assets of the local publisher from the McClatchy Co.
The local investors who have been identified from that group include:
Brian P. Tierney, advertising executive
Bruce E. Toll, cofounder of Toll Bros. Inc.
Leslie A. Brun, chairman and CEO of Sarr Group L.L.C.
Carpenters Pension & Annuity Fund of Philadelphia & Vicinity, led by Edward Coryell
Katherine D. Crothall, founder of Animas Corp., a maker of medical devices
William Graham, CEO of the Graham Co., an insurance brokerage
Michael Hagan, chairman and CEO of NutriSystem Inc., the weight-loss company
Patricia Harron Imbesi, principal of Patriarch Media L.L.C.