Orange County Business Journal

San Diego Developer Confirms Interest in Register

Kari Hamanaka Monday, March 5, 2012

A San Diego hotel developer, who recently acquired the daily newspaper there, confirmed his interest in buying the Orange County Register from Irvine-based Freedom Communications Inc.

Doug Manchester bought the San Diego Union-Tribune with partner John Lynch in November. The publication has since been renamed U-T San Diego.

The Business Journal reported several weeks ago that Manchester was in “serious talks” about buying the Register.

Manchester today confirmed his interest in the Register in a report by the online daily Voice of San Diego.

“There’s no deal right now,” he told the Voice of San Diego. “Check with me in 30 days and there might something.”

Freedom declined to comment on the story saying through its spokesman that it doesn't comment on rumors or speculation.

The Register is the largest newspaper owned by Freedom, which has been selling off assets. The company sold its eight TV stations last year to Maryland-based Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. for $385 million, a sum that was believed to leave the company free of the $300 million or so in debt it retained after emerging from bankruptcy in 2010.

It has sold several regional newspapers for undisclosed terms in recent months, including publications in New Mexico and Indiana.