Terry Horne will retire as publisher and president of Irvine-based Freedom Communications Inc.'s Orange County Register.

Horne plans to depart on Sept. 30.

Freedom is the publisher of about 100 daily and weekly newspapers along with eight television stations.

The Register is Freedom's flagship publication.

Horne was brought on four years ago, replacing N. Christian Anderson III. He arrived amid a decline in advertising at the Register, which has cuts jobs and other costs and gone through a bankruptcy since then.

Horne aimed to revive local coverage when he joined the Register. He more recently oversaw the launch of the newspaper's iPad app.

Horne’s departure comes as Freedom seeks a buyer.

Negotiations with Denver-based MediaNews Group Inc. hit a wall last month when talks stalled on the valuation of Freedom's various media outlets. Sources close to the talks have indicated they could resume.

Horne plans to move to Arizona, where he served as publisher of the East Valley Tribune in Mesa before joining the Register.

No replacement for Horne has been named, and Freedom is expected to conduct a national search.