The battle for Philly's biggest media brands will be fought in Delaware

Posted: February 10, 2014

A PHILADELPHIA Common Pleas judge yesterday punted to the Chancery Court of Delaware the question of how to dissolve the company that owns the Inquirer, Daily News and

Judge Patricia McInerney, after considering legal arguments on paper for weeks and in person on Monday, declined a request from two company owners, Lewis Katz and H.F. "Gerry" Lenfest, to appoint a trustee to oversee an auction of the media outlets.

That's a victory for the company's three other owners, led by George Norcross III, who wanted the case heard in Delaware.

Katz and Lenfest argued that the case belonged in Philadelphia because the company's assets and employees are here.

Norcross countered that the company, Interstate General Media Holdings, was incorporated in Delaware in 2012, so the dissolution should happen there.

Still undecided: How the company will be auctioned.

Katz and Lenfest want a public auction with bidders making one sealed offer.

"We are confident that the Delaware Chancery Court will agree with our position that the best way to achieve the maximum value for the company is through a fair, open and public auction," Richard Sprague, attorney for Katz and Lenfest, said yesterday.

Norcross wants a private auction open only to the company's current investors, starting with a $4 million buy-in bid followed by "blitz" bids increasing in increments of $1 million.

"We look forward to the opportunity to explain why any sale of IGM should be among its current owners as the agreement states," said Dan Fee, a spokesman for the Norcross faction, referring to the company's bylaws.

On Twitter: @ChrisBrennanDN


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