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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.

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