By Christopher K. Hepp and Harold Brubaker

INQUIRER STAFF WRITERS

NEW YORK - Brian P. Tierney, CEO of Philadelphia Newspapers L.L.C., announced Wednesday afternoon that the company that owns the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Daily News and Philly.com has been sold to its senior lenders.

The $139 million deal includes a $39.2 million in debt and $69 million in cash equity, plus the value of the company's real estate, estimated at $30 million for the purposes of the bankruptcy auction.

Dan Gross, president of the Newspaper Guild local that represents newsroom and advertising employees, when asked how employees should react to the new owners, said: "I don't believe this is something that they should fear. I am optimistic that they can prove Mr. Tierney wrong and show that they care about the newspapers and will treat the employees with the dignity and respect they deserve."

Gross acknowledged, however, that the unions would have to reach contract agreements with the new owners, which he admitted would not necessarily be easy.

Robert J. Hall, an adviser to the creditors' committee who served as publisher of The Inquirer and Daily News for 13 years until he retired in 2003, said he will be chief operating officer under the new ownership.

Further, he said that concessions will be needed from the unions: "There's no question about it." Concessions were part of both bids, from the local owners as well as the senior lenders.
Phila. Newspapers sold to lenders | Philadelphia Inquirer | 04/28/2010