Aaron Kushner and 2100 Trust agree to buy Orange County Register and six other papers
A Wellesley businessman and his partners have agreed to purchase the remaining newspapers of Freedom Communications Inc., an Irvine, Calif., company that owns the Orange County Register and six other western newspapers.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The sale is slated to close in 30 days.
Aaron Kushner, the buyer who made part of his wealth in greeting cards, and the 2100 Trust, a group that includes former newspaper executives, earlier this year tried to buy Maine’s largest newspaper company, including the Portland Press Herald, but talks collapsed with the paper’s unions and management.
Kushner and the 2100 Trust in the past have expressed interest in buying the Boston Globe but has not had serious talks with the New York Times Co., according to people briefed on the matter.
Freedom’s hedge fund owners have been selling off its news assets since the company emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in April 2010. The company has recently announced the sale of its newspaper groups in Texas, Florida, and North Carolina.
The company also sold eight TV stations last month to Sinclair Broadcast Group for $385 million, a deal that helped cover Freedom’s debt.
“The Freedom newspapers are among the best in the business with top notch reporters, editors, and business staff,” Kushner said in a statement. “We are honored to get to work with them and help support them. Our plans begin with serving our communities, and we will do everything we can to ensure the staff has all the resources necessary to continue producing great journalism.’’
He also said, “As we see opportunities to buy and support other compelling franchise newspapers we will actively pursue them.”
The Kushner deal also includes four other California newspapers: Barstow’s Desert Dispatch, the Appeal-Democrat in Marysville, the Daily Press in Victorville, and the Porterville Recorder in Porterville. In addition, the sale includes the Gazette in Colorado Springs, Colo., and the Yuma Sun in Yuma, Ariz.
Freedom’s spokesman was not immediately available for comment.Beth Healy can be reached at email@example.com.