Orange County Business Journal

Reports Put Register Sale Close

Kari Hamanaka Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The San Diego developer who owns U-T San Diego is in talks to buy Irvine-based Freedom Communications Inc.’s Orange County Register, according to various media reports in San Diego.

Douglas Manchester and John Lynch acquired the San Diego Union-Tribune in November and renamed the daily U-T San Diego. Lynch is now vice chair and chief executive of the newspaper.

Local reports say the San Diego paper and Freedom are in final talks on a deal, which could include other publications.

Lynch said he could offer “no confirmation” of the most recent reports. He said his company is looking at numerous newspapers in Southern California, and cited a tough economic environment for deal making.

The latest reports come as Freedom continues to sells off its assets. It sold eight TV stations in a $385 million deal announced last year. Sales of regional newspapers in New Mexico and Indiana came earlier this year.

The Register last month named Editor Ken Brusic as interim publisher following the departures of former interim publisher Michael Henry, who also served as general manager and chief financial officer. Tom Kelly, former senior vice president of sales and marketing, left the Register at the same time.