Orange County Register Sold to Boston Investor

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Freedom Communications of Irvine is selling the Orange County Register, six other dailies and other properties to a Boston investor, according to published reports.

He is Aaron Kushner of 2100 Trust LLC, which previously tried to purchase the Boston Globe. The deal involving Santa Ana's daily, which was Freedom's flagship newspaper, is expected to close in 30 days.

"We couldn't be more pleased with the opportunity to lead the hard-working and talented employees of Freedom Communications in serving these communities," Kushner says in a press release. "We believe that newspapers are essential to the fabric of our lives and are excited to own and grow these unique institutions."

The Register, whose roots date back to the Santa Ana Daily Register that began publishing in 1905, was an institution that had been written off for dead just a few years ago, before Freedom plunged into bankruptcy. Amid shrinking circulation and ad revenue, members of founder R.C. Hoiles' family that largely owned the company were split between those who wanted to carry on and those who wanted to cash out.

Freedom emerged from restructuring in April 2010 leaner, meaner and, according to the company, profitable for the first time in years. Hoiles family members had by then been replaced by bankers and investors, who would go on to dispose of the media company's television stations for $385 million. They were quite active this year in selling off newspapers around the country to regional buyers. Prices for those deals, like the latest involving the Register, have not been revealed.

There had been reports out of San Diego that Douglas Manchester, the Union-Tribune owner, was close to sealing a deal for the Register. Anti-tax, anti-government and anti-gay marriage, Manchester was poised to make the libertarian-leaning Reggie even more conservative politically. Perhaps Freedom just used Manchester to drive up the free-market bidding.

Kushner, who is under 40, grew up in Georgia but attended Stanford before making his mark with an online venture and a greeting-card company. He went on to form private investment companies with an eye toward getting into the print media game. He's in now, and all eyes will be on him to prove "investment returns" and "print media" are not mutually exclusive terms.

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4 comments
Jaime Cook
Jaime Cook

I wonder if the OC Register will stop censoring people who post comments they disagree with, if you post a comment they don't like (their comments section uses Facebook to login), they block your IP address so that ONLY YOU can see your comment. No one else can see your comments when they censor you, and they do not tell you they have censored you, I often wonder how widespread this practice is at the OC Register, I called up their supprt line and they claimed they "had no idea" and it "must be a problem with Facebook", well I checked all that and there is NO problem with my Facebook settings at all. Here below is an example of one of my comments that no one but me can see on the OC Register, I can see it... but only when I am logged in to my Facebook account. As you can see this comment is not profane nor abusive, yet it was censored by the OC Register. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ All 6 of these killers in costumes MUST be charged with 2nd degree murder and convicted, THAT and NOTHING LESS would be justice for Kelly Thomas. Prosecuting all 6 police officers is the only way to send a very clear message that police brutality and the violent torture and murder of innocent Americans will “NEVER” be tolerated. The police must learn they will be held "FULLY" accountable for their actions when they sadistically torture and brutally murder American citizens as they did in this case. When sadistic police murder is as clear as this and each reader here does nothing, then YOU are supporting these murderers by doing nothing, only 2 of these killers have been charged with a crime, readers where is your patriotism?, do you not care about America?. Kelly Thomas a mentally ill American who was brutally murdered cannot do it, it is too late for him, only “we” together can do it for him, DO IT or next time it may be YOU or YOUR FAMILY MEMBER who gets murdered by these “killers in costumes”. Call AND write the Orange County District Attorney, and your House Rep, and both California Senators offices, let YOUR voice be heard, DO IT. Again, call AND write the Orange County District Attorney, and your House Rep, and both California Senators offices, let YOUR voice be heard, DO IT TODAY, remember YOU pay their salary and they work for you, so USE THEM, be patriotic stand up for America and stand up for justice.

Sam Infusia
Sam Infusia

Man, I wish the OC Weekly could be restored to the glory it once held ten years ago...

Brian
Brian

Wow  a greeting-card company - I hope all of news copy is like this:   “A wish for you and yours during the quake”

Buttercup
Buttercup

The deal involving Santa Ana's daily, which was Freedom's flagship newspaper, is expected to close in 30 days. ================= "We couldn't be more pleased with the opportunity to lead the hard-working and talented employees of Freedom Communications in serving these communities," Kushner says in a press release. "We believe that newspapers are essential to the fabric of our lives and are excited to own and grow these unique institutions." ================ Uhm...contradiction anyone? Wow, I guess their "opportunity to lead hard-working employees" does not extend to the S.A. Daily. As far as the political leaning? Hope they stick to the Hoiles tradition.

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