[Update: In a story published Tuesday in The Advocate, John Georges confirms he has a "serious interest" in buying the paper. The 52-year-old said talks with the paper's owners “have gone beyond a conversation.” Read that story here.]
In a breaking news item posted Saturday afternoon, Baton Rouge Business Report was the first to identify the potential buyer of The Advocate as New Orleans businessman John Georges. The story came a day after The Advocate confirmed in an online story that it was in talks with a private individual but that no offer had been extended.
Business Report's Stephanie Riegel notes that Georges has been discussing a possible deal with the Manship family since last fall, when the Baton Rouge daily began publishing a New Orleans edition after The Times-Picayune cut its frequency to three days a week:
Georges will neither confirm nor deny he is the interested buyer, but he leaves open the possibility. "I don't comment on rumors. If I have something to say I will do a release," he says. "Right now my focus is Galatoire's Bistro in Baton Rouge. It's an amazing success. Having said that, my eyes are wide open all the time."
Georges — whose business ventures include grocery distribution, offshore marine services, video and arcade entertainment and investments — ran for governor in 2007. More recently, he acquired the iconic Galatoire's restaurant in the New Orleans French Quarter, and earlier this month opened Galatoire's Bistro in Baton Rouge in the Acadian Village Shopping Center.
A former member of the Louisiana Board of Regents, Georges also ran for mayor of New Orleans in 2010, an election Mitch Landrieu won in the first round. Read more about his gubernatorial aspirations here.