Former Washington Star owner Joe L. Allbritton confirmed today that he is negotiating to acquire the ailing New York Daily News.
But in a press release issued by Allbritton Communication Co. in Washington, the financier denied a report that he had made an offer for the newspaper.
"At no time have we made an offer of any kind to anyone to acquire the Daily News," Allbritton said. "Any statements to the contrary, including or excluding financial statistics, are in error."
A story in Thursday's Washington Post quoted sources as saying Allbritton has made an offer "in excess of $100 million" for the various News properties. The sources today reaffirmed the information contained in the article and said the negotiations are extremely complex and the word "offer" is subject to a variety of interpretations.
"All Joe's doing is denying the formality of the offer," said this source.
The Tribune Co. of Chicago, which owns the Daily News, put the tabloid up for sale on Dec. 18, and since then a number of companies and individuals have expressed interest.
Earlier this week, Warner Communications Inc. dropped its interest in acquiring the News. A spokesman for the company blamed potential labor problems for Warner backing away from the paper.