Newsday pending new owner

Three media moguls are eager to buy the Long Island newspaper Newsday from the debt-laden Tribune Co.

The bidders are Rupert Murdoch, chairman of News Corp, real estate and publishing mogul Mortimer Zuckerman, and James Dolan, whose family controls Cablevision Systems Corp. News Corp owns The New York Post, while Zuckerman owns rival New York City tabloid The Daily News.

People involved in the Newsday sale declined to name a price tag, but a newspaper industry analyst quoted in the report estimated it could be worth $350 million to $400 million.

The sale process is described as a soft auction in which investment bankers are approaching a selected number of buyers.

The Tribune Company is a large American multimedia corporation based in Chicago, Illinois. It is the nation's second-largest newspaper publisher, responsible for the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Newsday, Hartford Courant, and the Baltimore Sun, among others. Through other subsidiaries, the Tribune Company also owns Tribune Broadcasting, Tribune Entertainment, Tribune Media Services, and the Chicago Cubs baseball team which it is also trying to sell.

The newspaper industry has fallen on tough times and Tribune Co has been particularly hard hit. It reported a fourth-quarter loss earlier Thursday with ad revenue down by 15 percent for the period.

A person briefed on Zuckerman's plans confirmed that "he definitely intends to bid on it," but added that no formal process had begun yet.

Newsday is a daily tabloid-size newspaper that primarily serves Long Island and the New York City borough of Queens, although it is sold throughout the New York City metropolitan area. As of fall 2007, Newsday's weekday circulation of 387,000 made it 10th-highest in the nation, and the highest for a suburban newspaper.

The newspaper headquarters is in Melville, New York, on Long Island.