Freedom Communications, MediaNews Group talks break down

Wall Street Journal | Colorado Springs Gazette
Buyout discussions broke down recently amid disagreements over price, report Russell Adams and Mike Spector. Freedom — publisher of the Orange County Register and other papers — put its properties, including TV stations, on the block late last year. MediaNews, Tribune, and the San Diego Union-Tribune owner were considered leading contenders to buy Freedom properties. The Journal reports today:

Freedom and MediaNews had been in advanced discussions for months on a tie-up that would bolster the Denver Post owner’s standing as the second-largest U.S. newspaper conglomerate behind USA Today publisher Gannett Co. in terms of total circulation.

Freedom has given suitors several options for bidding on the chain. Possible buyers can make offers for the entire company, or they can separately bid on Freedom’s eight television stations, its more than 100 daily and weekly newspapers or the flagship Register alone.

Private-equity firm Platinum Equity and newspaper publisher Tribune Co. could have strategic interest in the Register, said people familiar with the sales process. Platinum owns the San Diego Union-Tribune and Tribune owns the Los Angeles Times, papers both near the Register’s market. But such tie-ups could draw regulators’ attention given the overlapping markets.

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