US newspaper giant Gannett Corporation quit the Telegraph Group poker table on Friday, according to British daily newspaper The Guardian.
It is not known how many crisp dollar bills Gannett had slapped on the table; but another credible bidder, the proprietor of Express Newspapers, Richard Desmond, flounced out of the game last week after bidding outstripped his poke of £500 million ($910.55m; €746.66m).
Gannett, America's largest newspaper group and publisher of USA Today, was seen as a serious contender for the jewel in Lord Conrad Black's pawned crown. In all, twelve bidders sat at the table.
The board of Hollinger International [H-Intl] meets today (Tuesday) to ponder the survivors, among them the Daily Mail & General Trust -- believed to have bid approaching £700m -- and the clamlike Barclay twins, said to have pitched in around £670m.
A dark horse coming up fast on the rail, however, is US private equity company Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co -- the original Barbarian at the Gate -- rumoured to have powered its way into the bidding late last week with an offer for H-Intl in its entirety, independently valued at around £1 billion.
A final shortlist of contenders is expected to emerge from today's meeting of the H-Intl board. Fait vos jeux!
Data sourced from: MediaGuardian.co.uk; additional content by WARC staff