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Walt Disney Co.'s decision to entertain offers for the print properties it acquired when it bought Capital Cities/ABC has set off a gold rush that could end with the biggest strike in the history of the publishing business.

The diversity of the holdings-more than 100 titles, including business magazines and daily newspapers-has media giants and niche players alike scrambling to line up financing.

If the pieces are broken up, as is widely expected, analysts predict Disney could reap more than $3 billion from the sale.

"I've told our people it could easily be $2.5 billion to $3 billion if it is broken up," said David Londoner, media analyst with Schroder Wertheim & Co.


A list of publishers not interested in some part of the empire would be far shorter than one of publishers that are. But among the most intriguing scenarios to surface: that Gannett Co. is exploring the formation of a consortium of non-competitive players to make one bid for all the properties and then divide the spoils.

Gannett, which would be interested in the newspapers, declined comment.

Other potential bidders considered among the top tier include Advance

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