The word on Wall Street is that a big-money player may buy the NY Daily News

John catsimatidisREUTERS/Brendan McDermidNew Yorker John Catsimatidis may take a swing at the Daily News, next.

The New York Daily News may not be able to sell the company for more than what the Sunday paper costs, but that’s not going to stop potential bidders looking to take over a prized tabloid asset here, media bankers are saying.

Reports that Cablevision is walking away from a piddling $US1-dollar offer to buy the beleaguered print operation doesn’t mean the New York Daily News auction is busted, said one media banker.

It does, however, mean that big companies are out of the mix for this deal.

From an antitrust perspective, one said, News Corp., which is already tied to New York’s other big tabloid, the Post, is unlikely to be able to seal the deal. For one, the Post is a perennial money-loser (as is the Daily News).

Also count out Athlon Media Group, which took over Parade Magazine last year.

A Reuters report said the company is losing $US30 million a year, and would require ongoing investment in its printing press. If Cablevision — which already owns Long Island paper Newsday — won’t buy a money-losing outfit, sources said, it’s likely one of New York City’s financial fat-cats will be eager to take on the risk in exchange for the influence the News wields here.

Here’s what media bankers said when Business Insider got in touch with them:

  • A banker familiar with the situation said that “management meetings are ongoing” so Cablevision’s exit from the auction doesn’t necessarily spell the end of the process.
  • Another industry banker pointed out that any owner of the New York Daily News shouldn’t expect to make much (or, anything!) on the paper. “It’s like owning a pro sports team,” he told BI.
  • The media banker pointed out that “a rich supermarket owner” (likely: John Catsimatidis) could wind up the next owner of the paper, still.
  • Added the first banker: “It loses too much money and prospects for a turnaround are bleak.”

Lazard, which is representing the New York Daily News in the sale process, declined to comment.

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