Report: Perelman complains he's being shut out of PMN bidding

Posted: February 10, 2012

Philanthropist Raymond G. Perelman has become the second person to complain about being shut out of the bidding for The Inquirer, the Philadelphia Daily News, and Philly.com, according to the Associated Press.

The AP, citing a person close to the 94-year-old Perelman, reported Thursday that he had sent a letter urging Philadelphia Media Network Inc. (PMN) to conduct a fair and open sale. According to the AP, Perelman has been told that he cannot participate in a process that may lead to the sale of the two newspapers and the website.

Perelman did not return phone calls seeking comment.

Late Thursday, a PMN spokesman said the company would have no comment on the AP report.

A spokesman for Evercore Partners Inc., the New York investment-banking firm managing the sale, also declined to comment.

Earlier this week, developer Bart Blatstein issued a news release announcing the formation of an investor group of local businesspeople to pursue an acquisition of PMN, which is owned by a number of hedge funds and financial institutions.

The following day, PMN issued a statement that it "is not in discussions" with Blatstein or his Philly Hometown Media L.L.C., which numbers among its investors beverage mogul Harold Honickman; Gerard H. Sweeney, president and chief executive officer of Brandywine Realty Trust; William A. Harvey, managing partner of Klehr Harrison Harvey Branzburg L.L.P.; and class-action securities lawyer Andrew L. Barroway.

Despite being rebuffed, Blatstein has said he and his group remain committed to pursuing discussions about the purchase of PMN.

Since word of a possible sale involving PMN was first reported late last month, details about the bidding process have been unclear, with the largest shareholders, including Alden Global Capital and Angelo, Gordon & Co., not talking publicly about their intentions. As private investors, they are not required to disclose much about their activities, especially with privately held firms such as PMN.

Last Friday, an investor group consisting of former Gov. Ed Rendell and five partners confirmed that it had submitted a nonbinding letter of interest. Those investors are New Jersey businessman Lewis Katz; Comcast-Spectacor chairman Edward M. Snider; William P. Hankowsky, chief executive of Liberty Property Trust; insurance executive and New Jersey Democratic leader George E. Norcross III; and Krishna "Kris" Singh, president and chief executive officer of Holtec International in Marlton.

In 2010, Raymond Perelman and his son, billionaire Ronald Perelman, were part of a local investor group that attempted to buy the newspaper company out of bankruptcy. That effort failed when the senior lenders, led by Alden Global and Angelo, Gordon, won an auction with a bid valued at $139 million.


Contact staff writer Mike Armstrong at 215-854-2980 or marmstrong@phillynews.com, or @PhillyInc on Twitter.

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