Buyout negotiations between the parent of the Orange County Register and MediaNews Group Inc. have collapsed over a disagreement about the value of the company, according to a person familiar with the matter.
The Denver company, which owns 29 California newspapers, is believed to have offered about $700 million to purchase Freedom Communications Inc.
The negotiations had been viewed as a potential first step toward an expected wave of consolidation in the region's newspaper industry as companies look for new ways to reduce overhead costs.
MediaNews had lined up financing for the deal, including letters from banks committing to loans, according to the person with knowledge of the deal, who was not authorized to speak publicly.
Spokesmen for both companies declined comment.
Tribune Co. — which owns the Los Angeles Times, KTLA-TV Channel 5 and other media properties — is believed by industry analysts to have bid for the Register.
Freedom publishes 25 daily newspapers, including the Register, and 16 weekly papers. It also operates eight TV stations and several shoppers and specialty publications.
MediaNews is the country's second-largest newspaper company after Gannett Co. It owns nine papers in Southern California, including the Los Angeles Daily News in Woodland Hills, the Press-Telegram in Long Beach and the Pasadena Star-News.