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Businessman purchases newspaper for $88 million

New Jersey residents may be interested in the latest acquisition of a major Philadelphia newspaper by a local philanthropist and businessman. The purchase is the result of a falling out between former business partners who previously owned the paper.

The Philadelphia Inquirer has been purchased by different parties five times in less than a decade. Now, after the close of an auction in late May, H.F. "Gerry" Lenfest will be purchasing the Philadelphia institution for a total of $88 million. Lenfest is a businessman who earned his money by acquiring a cable TV division of a larger company and spinning it off into Suburban Cable. Lenfest eventually sold Suburban to Comcast for a reported $7.2 billion. With the capital that his 50 percent share in Suburban brought, Lenfest has often engaged in philanthropic pursuits.

Lenfest, along with five other investors, purchased six Philadelphia media properties in 2012, including The Inquirer, forming Interstate General Media Holdings LLC. Afterwards, however, the investors had a falling out. Lenfest and one of his partners bid together against the others to buy out the paper. Soon after the purchase, that partner was killed. Now, as the new owner, Lenfest is negotiating the purchase of the shares inherited by his late partner's son. He is also acting as its temporary publisher for the paper until a permanent one can be found.

In situations like this, when personal issues impact a business relationship, it can be helpful to have the counsel of a business attorney. Whether a closely held corporation or a family-owned business, the attorney may be able to help the entrepreneurs negotiate a settlement to their differences. This may help return business operations to normal and protect the interests of all parties involved.

Source: Philly.com, "Lenfest closes deal to buy parent company of Inquirer", Chris Hepp, June 12, 2014

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