March 18, 2016
The media landscape has shifted with Tribune Publishing’s successful acquisition of Freedom Communications, the owner of the Orange County Register and Riverside Press-Enterprise for $56-million.
Tribune, also the owner of the Los Angeles Times, outbid Digital First Media in a bankruptcy auction, concluding a contentious process that spread over two days. The bid faces challenges, including a U.S. Justice Dept. antitrust lawsuit filed the next day to prevent the deal from proceeding.
Tribune’s bid does not include assumption of the Register’s pension plan. Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., the federal pension guarantor that’s a large creditor in Freedom’s bankruptcy, will take over that liability.
A court hearing is scheduled next week to review the Tribune’s winning bid, with an expected closing date of March 31.
This article was updated with Federal lawsuit information on March 18.