Murdoch's deal complicated by third bid

A handshake deal for Rupert Murdoch to acquire Newsday has been shaken up by reports of a third bid by Cablevision and the New York Observer’s Jared Kushner for the Long Island newspaper.

Sam Zell’s Tribune Co. is looking to unload the paper to lighten its debt load, while Murdoch’s News Corp. and New York Daily News owner Mort Zuckerman are each offering $580 million for the property. On Tuesday, several outlets (including Newsday itself) were reporting that Kushner, the scion of a deep-pocketed real estate family who became publisher of the Observer in 2006, was teaming with the Dolan family to enter the fray.

“We decline to comment on speculation,” said a Cablevision rep. Kushner did not return a call for comment.

Zuckerman’s argument in submitting a bid equal in value to Murdoch’s is that he would encounter less regulatory turbulence, making his bid more attractive. The Dolans control Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall, the Clearview exhib chain, a suite of cable networks and other features of the Gotham media landscape, but adding Newsday would appear to be similarly less thorny than for Murdoch.

Meanwhile, as speculation about a possible Cablevision-Kushner bid gained steam on Tuesday, sources close to the situation at News Corp. and within the Zuckerman camp indicated that they were not inclined to raise their bids much higher or engage in a bidding war for Newsday.

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