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George Norcross loses ownership stake of Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily News

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George Norcross III
George Norcross III

South Jersey power broker George Norcross and businessmen Joseph Buckelew and William Hankowsky were outbid in a court-ordered private auction Tuesday for their majority ownership stakes in Interstate General Media, the parent company of The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Philadelphia Daily News and philly.com.

Winning control of the papers at a bid of $88 million were businessmen and company minority owners Lewis Katz and H.F. Lenfest. In 2012, Katz and Lenfest joined Norcross, Buckelew and Hankowsky in acquiring the papers for $55 million.

The result puts an end to months of reported corporate and newsroom infighting that have been on display for public view.  

Following the auction, Norcross, Hankowsky and Buckelew announced they declined to submit a higher bid and noted it was “time to return the company’s focus to journalism, and away from conflict among its owners.”

“We always understood that no matter who won the auction, there was a great deal of work to be done,” the three businessmen said in an issued statement. “Now, with this chapter ended, we hope the company can return its focus to accomplishing that needed work.”

The group added in the statement that they wish Katz and Lenfest “the best of luck moving forward.”

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Andrew George

Andrew George

Andrew George covers the Statehouse from NJBIZ's Trenton bureau. Born and raised in N.J., Andrew has also spent time as a reporter in D.C., Texas and Pa. His email is andrewg@njbiz.com and he is @AndrGeorge on Twitter.

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