UPI Creditors Seeking Final Decision on Buyer
WASHINGTON (AP) _ United Press International and its major creditors sought Monday to agree on a prospective buyer from among three final bidders for the news agency.
UPI spokesman William Adler said the three finalists were Mario Vazquez Rana, a Mexican newspaper publisher; Joe Russo, a Houston real estate developer; and a six-member consortium led by Financial News Network Inc. of New York, a cable TV company.
Adler said late Monday it was not clear when the committee of creditors, in consultation with a nine-member UPI management team and the Wire Service Guild, might decide on a proposed new owner for the company.
A news story that UPI transmitted to its subscribers Monday and made available to The Associated Press said the final bidders had made offers ranging from $36 million to $40 million in cash and working capital.
UPI filed for protection from creditors under Chapter 11 of federal bankruptcy law on April 28. As of May 31, the news agency reported $40.2 million in debts and nearly $24 million in assets.
UPI chairman Luis Nogales has said that once a prospective buyer is selected, a joint reorganization plan is expected to be filed with federal bankruptcy court here.
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge George Francis Bason Jr. has empowered the creditors, UPI management and the Guild, which represents about 750 UPI editorial employees, to file plans to reorganize the company.
Bason, after consulting with the creditors, has authority to select one of the reorganization plans and to approve the final sale of the company.
Adler said the creditors’ committee met all day Monday at UPI’s Washington headquarters, hearing presentations from the three finalists bidding to purchase UPI, the recommendations of UPI management and the Guild, and a report from a new group representing non-union UPI employees.
When that is completed, Adler said, the creditors planned to caucus to make a final selection. It was understood that UPI management was choosing from among the same finalists, and that the Guild was studying tentative offers from Russo and Vazquez Rana.
Adler said a bid for UPI by Beurt R. SerVaas, an Indianapolis businessman and chairman and controlling stockholder of the Curtis Publishing Co., had been withdrawn.
Bason announced in September that 25 bids had been received.