Penguins co-owner to help Philadelphia newspapers
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HARRISBURG -- Penguins co-owner Ron Burkle, a wealthy businessman, is stepping in to help a local Philadelphia ownership group retain control of that city's two major newspapers.
Gov. Ed Rendell said Monday that he had asked Mr. Burkle to help the current owners, led by Philadelphia businessman Brian Tierney, retain control of the Inquirer and Daily News. An auction will be held Tuesday and could attract up to five bidders, according to reports.
The newspapers, with large debts, have been in bankruptcy protection for over a year. Mr. Rendell said he got to know Mr. Burkle in 2000-01, when Mr. Rendell was chairman of the Democratic National Committee, and said Mr. Burkle has contributed to his campaigns for governor.
Mr. Rendell described Mr. Burkle as "a tough negotiator" during talks three years ago on how much state funding would go into the Penguins' new hockey arena, which will open this fall.
Mr. Rendell said no one should misread his support for keeping the Philadelphia newspapers in local control as some sort of deal for the newspapers' editorial support.
"It's a jobs preservation issue," he said, noting that "4,500 jobs are at stake" with the two papers.
First Published April 27, 2010 12:00 am