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POST’S FUTURE IN DOUBT AS MURDOCH DROPS BID

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The New York Post, the zesty tabloid that thrived on adversity, faced a bleak future Friday as Rupert Murdoch and unions failed to come to terms and he dropped his bid to buy it.

When a 4 p.m. deadline passed without agreement on new cost-cutting contracts, negotiators for Murdoch said he canceled his agreement to run the nation's oldest, continuously published daily.Murdoch's move bounced the 192-year-old paper back to a bankruptcy court judge Monday and put its future in doubt.

With no Saturday edition to put out, employees cleaned out their desks, said goodbyes and left before doors at the Post's offices were locked.

"This is truly a sad day," Patrick Purcell, president of Murdoch's News America Publishing Corp., said in announcing the withdrawal of the media magnate.