British publisher Robert Maxwell said more than a third of Daily News union employees could lose their jobs if he buys the struggling, strikebound tabloid.

But that's better than all of them hitting the streets if the 71-year-old tabloid folds, he said Thursday. "What matters is that the paper is at death's door."Wages would remain intact under Maxwell's plan to save the News, but 800 to 900 jobs would be cut from about 2,300 covered by union contracts.

Union leaders were optimistic after the first day of negotiations between the paper's nine unions and its prospective new owner.