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P.M. BRIEFING : British Publisher Maxwell Has Eyes on Major U.S. Newspaper

<i> From Times Wire Services </i>

Robert Maxwell, a leading publisher in Britain who has gone on a buying spree in the U.S. publishing industry in recent years, said today he is in talks to buy a major American newspaper.

Maxwell, speaking at the annual meeting of one of his companies, Berlitz International Inc., declined to identify his target but said the property is valued “obviously in the mid-hundreds of millions.”

Speculation centered on the Tribune Co.'s high-circulation but marginally profitable New York Daily News. Its owner, the diversified publisher of the Chicago Tribune newspaper, said it has no comment. Tribune put the Daily News up for sale several years ago but then took it off the market.

A quick sale of the Daily News would be difficult because of strained labor relations at the newspaper, where employees have been working for weeks without a contract, industry sources said.

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