Cablevision Systems Corp. has lost interest in acquiring the New York Daily News, even for just $1, according to a wire service report Tuesday.
The news service Reuters said the Bethpage-based cable company, which owns Newsday, is planning to pull out of the auction process for the financially troubled Manhattan tabloid after spending hundreds of hours analyzing a potential deal.
Reuters cited as its source an unidentified person familiar with the matter.
A spokeswoman for Cablevision declined to comment Tuesday night.
The $1 offer, reported by Reuters in March but not confirmed by Cablevision, would have put Cablevision in competition for the News with grocery store chain owner John Catsimatidis, who made an earlier offer to buy it from real estate magnate Mortimer Zuckerman.
There was no immediate comment Tuesday night from the Daily News.
Catsimatidis said in a telephone interview that he was unaware of any change in plans by Cablevision, but he is still interested in acquiring the Daily News. "I don't know if Cablevision is bidding or not bidding," he said. "But the Daily News is a great New York institution, and it deserves to survive whoever the buyer is. We are working overtime this week to formulate a deal. We're going to have an offer next week."
The source told Reuters that Cablevision concluded that even if it bought the News' state-of-the-art printing press, it would still lose money on the deal.
In February, Zuckerman said he was considering selling the newspaper and had hired Lazard Ltd. to assist with the process.
Other bidders include Jimmy Finkelstein, owner of the Washington, D.C., newspaper The Hill, and an unnamed real estate mogul, Reuters said, citing a separate source familiar with the matter.
The Daily News is currently losing $30 million a year, sources previously told Reuters. Its declining circulation relies heavily on newsstand sales rather than on subscriptions.