Unable to reach agreement, The Inquirer's rival owners are likely to ask a Delaware judge to choose the date for the auction of its parent company, according to one attorney in the case.

Richard A. Sprague, who represents Lewis Katz and H.F. "Gerry" Lenfest in the dispute with a group led by George E. Norcross III, said the date and auction procedure were still unresolved.

"The Norcross side would like the auction to be May 14," Sprague said Wednesday. "The Katz-Lenfest side would prefer it to be what the judge ordered, by May 28. The judge's order said by May 28, and our side would like the additional time."

Norcross spokesman Dan Fee declined to comment.

Delaware Court of Chancery Vice Chancellor Donald F. Parsons Jr. said April 25 that a private auction among current owners should be held by May 28 to decide ownership of Interstate General Media Holdings L.L.C. IGM owns The Inquirer, the Philadelphia Daily News, three websites, and a printing plant. Parsons urged the sides to agree on a plan that he could then approve. If each side submits a separate proposal, it is unclear when Parsons will decide.

"The parties are trying to work it out, but I think it is more likely than not that each side will submit their own proposed order," Sprague said.

As for procedures, one question is whether the bidders will be in the same room, or separate rooms with the liquidating trustee shuttling back and forth, asking if one side wants to go beyond the most recent bid.

"I believe when it goes forward, all the parties will be in the same room," Sprague said. "Whether it is public or not, I don't know. You might have the parties with the trustee, or with whoever wants to come to watch. It is still to be determined."

Sprague declined to comment on what his clients prefer.