05/27/2014 12:38 pm ET Updated May 27, 2014

Philadelphia Newspapers Sold For Fifth Time In Eight Years


Philadelphia's largest newspapers have been sold for the fifth time since 2006 after a long battle between the papers' owners.

Minority owners H.F. "Gerry" Lenfest and Lewis Katz made an $88 million bid Tuesday morning at an auction at a Philadelphia law firm to declare victory over Interstate General Media's majority owners George E. Norcross, William P. Hankowsky and Joseph E. Buckelew.

The final auction came after a longtime feud between the owners triggered by the sudden firing of Inquirer editor William K. Marimow. Katz and Lenfest filed a lawsuit in 2013 against the publisher claiming that Interstate General Media overstepped their authority in wrongly firing Marimow and opposing the direction the co-owners were taking the company.

Marimow, who was later brought back as editor following a court decision in November, expressed his support for the two winning owners Tuesday morning.

"I'm really pleased that Gerry Lenfest and Lewis Katz prevailed," he said. "I believe they are committed to the kind of public service journalism that Philadelphia, its suburbs and South Jersey really require."

The Inquirer newsroom reportedly got the news a little before 11 AM and an eruption of applause took over, the newspaper said.

As for the losing group, Norcross, Hankowsky and Buckelew gave little comment after the decision but appeared relieved to have the legal battle behind them.