Daily News in second-round talks with Dolan, Catsimatidis

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Mort Zuckerman. (AP Photo/Stephen Chernin, File)
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The sale of Mort Zuckerman's Daily News appears to be advancing as the paper meets with its suitors.

In recent days, according to sources familiar with the matter, at the offices of the financial advisory firm Lazard, which is handling the sale, there have been meetings between representatives of the News and the potential buyers, which include John Catsimatidis, the supermarket magnate, and James Dolan, who runs Cablevision, Madison Square Garden and Newsday.

Dolan and Catsimatidis have both confirmed their interest in owning the tabloid, which Zuckerman, a real estate mogul who also owns U.S. News & World Report, hopes to sell for upwards of $150 million, reportedly, despite the more than $20 million the News is said to lose annually; Cablevision's bid for the paper and Zuckerman's Jersey City printing plant amounted to $1, reflecting the News' precarious financial position despite digital growth it has achieved over the past few years.

But neither Dolan nor Catsimatidis were willing to discuss the latest talks in the sale process, which has entered its second round. Dolan, Cablevision's president and C.E.O., forwarded an email from Capital to a Cablevision spokesman, who declined to comment, as did Catsimitidis through his own spokesman. Representatives for Lazard and Zuckerman likewise declined to comment.

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Catsimitidis, whose meeting took place last week, is said to be working with Les Goodstein, a friend and former president and chief operating officer of the Daily News, according to sources familiar with the matter.

More recently, Goodstein was an executive at News Corp., where he ran the company's Community Newspaper Group— which publishes The Brooklyn Paper and other local New York titles—before leaving News Corp. in July 2013. A year later, News Corp. sold C.N.G. to Goodstein and his wife, Jennifer, who runs a separate community newspaper chain that prints its publications at Zuckerman's plant. Goodstein declined to comment.

Jimmy Finkelstein, a veteran media investor who owns the congressional newspaper The Hill, is also reportedly eyeing the News, but his interest has not been confirmed beyond an April 9 New York Post report citing a source close to the entrepreneur.

On Feb. 26, the 77-year-old Zuckerman announced he was exploring a sale of the News, which he acquired in 1993. For decades, the News and the Post have been locked in a fierce rivalry that has taken on an increasingly digital dimension as both tabloids have shed hundreds of thousands of print readers and ceded influence among the city's power brokers.

News Corp., which owns the Post, has in the past had conversations with the News about a potential merger, and media insiders haven't ruled out the possibility of the company's chairman, Rupert Murdoch, swooping in with a bid.

"If Rupert got it, maybe we'll do something together," Dolan told The Hollywood Reporter recently.