Rival New York newspapers exploring merger

The New York Post and New York Daily News, the combatants in what is arguably Gotham’s fiercest media rivalry, are exploring a merger of certain operations.

Printing, delivery and other aspects of publishing a daily tabloid could be done jointly, saving each parent company millions in a brutal climate for newspapers. Execs began talks, which are still at an early stage, in May when Tribune sold Newsday to Cablevision.

Mort Zuckerman, who owns the Daily News, jousted with Post uberchief Rupert Murdoch in bidding for Newsday. Ultimately, neither could match Cablevision’s $650 million offer.

The talks were reported Tuesday on the New York Times website. People close to the discussions confirmed they were ongoing.

Murdoch’s News Corp. continues to lose about $50 million a year on the Post, while the News is closer to break-even. Daily circulation is about even, while the News holds a commanding lead on Sunday.

Sources with knowledge of the talks say the aim is a pact that would fall short of a joint operating agreement. Such accords have popped up across the country in major markets where daily papers compete editorially but share advertising and many backoffice functions.

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