O.C. Register to be sold to lower bidder after Tribune Publishing bid blocked by judge – Chicago Tribune

Freedom Communications, the bankrupt owner of the Orange County Register and Press-Enterprise of Riverside, has decided to sell to Digital First Media after a judge blocked a higher bid by the owner of the Los Angeles Times, a Freedom attorney said Saturday.

Freedom will ask a federal bankruptcy judge on Monday to confirm and approve the sale to Digital First, which owns the Los Angeles Daily News and eight other daily papers in the greater Los Angeles area. The deal will close by March 31, Freedom attorney William Lobel said in an email.

Digital First was the runner-up bidder for Freedom at $45.5 million.

The prospective takeover of the Freedom properties is Digital First’s second major move in California in the last three weeks. The Denver-based company earlier announced it would consolidate six daily newspapers in the San Francisco Bay Area into two, one serving Oakland and the East Bay and the other Silicon Valley. In the East Bay, The Contra Costa Times, Oakland Tribune, The Daily Review and The Argus will become the new East Bay Times. The San Jose Mercury News and the San Mateo County Times will become the Mercury News.

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