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Philadelphia Newspapers Donated to Tax-Exempt Entity by Billionaire Owner

Image: Philadelphia Newspapers Donated to Tax-Exempt Entity by Billionaire Owner
(Philadelphia Media Network)

By    |   Wednesday, 13 Jan 2016 01:12 PM

Billionaire H.F. "Gerry" Lenfest has donated some of Philadelphia's largest newspapers to a tax-exempt organization in a move designed to help them survive the age of digital news.

According to The Associated Press, the Institute for Journalism in New Media will become the new owner of The Philadelphia Inquirer, the Philadelphia Daily News, and Philly.com, and Lenfest is kicking in an additional $20 million to endow the new enterprise.

"My goal is to ensure that the journalism traditionally provided by the printed newspapers is given a new life and prolonged, while new media formats for its distribution are being developed," said Lenfest, USA Today reported.

"Of all of the ventures I have been involved with in my life, nothing is more important than preserving the journalism that has been delivered by these storied news organizations."

Of chief importance to the new venture will be its ability to receive philanthropic dollars, he added.

Lenfest, 85, sold the cable empire he built to Comcast in 2000, and purchased the newspaper group in 2014 at auction for $88 million.

Getting into the nitty-gritty of the deal, USA Today explained that "Philadelphia Media Network, Lenfest's company that controls the newspapers, now has been converted to a public benefit corporation and will operate independently as a taxable subsidiary of the new organization being created, the Institute for Journalism in New Media. Unlike for-profit companies, public benefit corporations — crowd-funding site Kickstarter is a PBC — operate under charters that call for incorporating the public’s benefit into its business decisions, as well as shareholders' return on investment."

As the AP reported, "The hybrid set-up is designed to let the nonprofit institute accept charitable donations without stifling its ability to publish editorials or endorse political candidates."

Terry Egger, Philadelphia Media Network's publisher and CEO, said, "Hopefully it will underwrite some of our business. It's not a bailout."

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Billionaire H.F. "Gerry" Lenfest has donated some of Philadelphia's largest newspapers to a tax-exempt organization in a move designed to help them survive the age of digital news.
philadelphia, newspapers, donated, tax exempt
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2016-12-13
Wednesday, 13 Jan 2016 01:12 PM
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