Talks between Irvine-based Freedom Communications Inc. and potential buyer MediaNews Group Inc. have once again hit a wall, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Difficulty on financing spelled an end to a recent proposal that would have seen MediaNews buy Freedom's Orange County Register and about 100 other daily and weekly newspapers for about $350 million, the report said.

An acquisition of the Register is seen as a way for MediaNews to round out its territory in Southern California. The Denver-based publisher owns the Los Angeles Daily News in Woodland Hills along with several other dailies in Southern California.

The deal with Freedom would make it the second-largest newspaper publisher in the country, after Gannett Co., owner of USA Today and others.

Freedom would sell its eight television stations to another buyer if the deal were to go through, according to the report.

Freedom and MediaNews have had on-and-off talks about a potential deal over the last several months.

The latest twist came about a month after the two companies broke off earlier discussions over a disagreement on price.