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Philly Media Network Purchased

On Monday, April 2, the Philadelphia Media Network (PMN) was purchased by a group of six local investors for $55 million. The last time the Philadelphia publication was up for sale in 2006, the newspaper and its websites were bought for $515 million.

Lewis Katz, a founding partner for the law firm Katz, Ettin, Levine, & Weber in New Jersey, and George E. Norcross III, chairman of Conner Strong Companies, are the managing partners of the investor group Interstate General Media LLC. The four other investors are philanthropist H.F. Lenfest, P. Singh, William P. Hankowsky and Joseph Buckelew. These new investors have confidence that the paper’s circulation will increase under their leadership.

Former Governor Ed Rendell was previously part of this investor group, but another political figure is still involved. Norcross is an influential fundraiser for the Democratic Party in southern New Jersey. Some are concerned that this association will contribute to a political bias in the paper’s views.

Katz has said that he and the other investors will gladly sign a pledge declaring that they will not interfere with the news process. The official word from PMN is that the staff, including CEO Gregory J. Osberg, trusts that the new ownership will not interfere with the paper’s routine and publication process.

Nonetheless, some changes are certain to occur. One that is already in the works, intended to help the Philadelphia Inquirer, is the rehiring of two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, William K. Marimow.

“PMN’s hedge-fund owners were ‘always looking at various exit strategies,’ Osberg said. ‘I think now we’re not going to have that problem under local ownership'” (philly.com).

Sources:

Philly.com

WSJ.com

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