Tribune back in talks for Orange County Register


Crain’s Chicago Business reports Tribune, which owns the LA Times and Chicago Tribune, is back in talks with Freedom Communications to purchase the Orange County Register in California. Tribune and Freedom revived discussions about the sale of Freedom’s flagship paper after negotiations with MediaNews Group Inc. unraveled.

Freedom, based in Irvine, CA, also is in touch with other companies that might revive takeover proposals. Denver-based MediaNews, the owner of the Denver Post and other papers, also could come back with another bid, the story said.

Freedom had favored MediaNews’ bid because other bidders had expressed interest in buying just parts of Freedom while MediaNews was interested in buying the entire company, which includes smaller papers and broadcast outlets, such as the WRGB-TV Albany, NY (CBS).

RBR-TVBR observation: Tribune’s bid could be dicey, due to its ongoing bankruptcy proceedings. However, offering up ad packages that covered LA County, Orange County and San Bernardino County could be a very lucrative business—one ad buy would reach readers in just about all of SoCal. No word if the papers would be officially combined, but duplicative, back office functions savings would likely be taken advantage of.