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Daily News Owner Calls Off 13-Month Search for Buyer

June 17, 1995|GREG MILLER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

More than a year after the Los Angeles Daily News was put up for sale, owner Jack Kent Cooke has pulled the paper off the market, according to the investment banking firm hired to sell the publication.

Cooke called an end to the firm's search for a buyer Thursday, said Marti Frucci, spokeswoman for New York-based Lazard Freres & Co.

"He likes it, he intends to keep it, and wants to take it as far as he can," Frucci said.

In a story published in Friday's Daily News, Cooke said he no longer plans to sell the paper because of the "great accomplishments" brought about by a new management team.

In May, 1994, Cooke retained Lazard Freres to find a buyer for the paper. Three months later, Larry T. Beasley, an executive with a reputation as a cost cutter, joined the Daily News as president and chief executive.

Media analyst Kenneth Berents said the paper had drawn looks from buyers but no offers that were acceptable to Cooke.

"He couldn't get the price he wanted," said Berents, an analyst at Wheat First Butcher Singer Inc. in Virginia. "You don't want to let a property dangle too long out there because it can kill morale at the paper."

John Morton, an analyst at Lynch, Jones & Ryan in Washington, said cost-cutting efforts appear to be succeeding.

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