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Freedom Communications seeks to sell some or all of its media properties

The parent company of the Orange County Register emerged from bankruptcy protection last year. Likely bidders include Tribune Co. and MediaNews Group.

March 11, 2011|By Walter Hamilton, Los Angeles Times

The parent company of the Orange County Register has begun an auction seeking to sell all or part of the Irvine-based owner of 100 newspapers and eight TV stations.

Freedom Communications Inc., which emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last year, was expected to receive bids from a number of suitors before a Thursday deadline set by the company.

A spokesman for Freedom declined to provide any information on bids received.

Among firms considered likely to make bids for parts of Freedom were Tribune Co. — which owns the Los Angeles Times, KTLA-TV Channel 5 and other media properties — and MediaNews Group Inc., publisher of newspapers including the Daily News in Woodland Hills and the Press-Telegram in Long Beach. Two Los Angeles-based private equity firms, Gores Group and Platinum Equity, also reportedly were considering making offers.

Freedom's creditors, including private equity firm Alden Global Capital, took control of the company under its bankruptcy reorganization, which slashed the company's debt load by almost 60% to $325 million.

For Chicago-based Tribune, Denver-based MediaNews and Platinum Equity, acquiring the Register would allow the buyer to cut costs by combining some operations with its existing newspaper operations in Southern California. Platinum owns the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Representatives of potential bidders either declined to comment or did not return phone calls.

walter.hamilton@latimes.com

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