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Tribune Publishing Co. withdrew its objection to Santa Ana-based Freedom Communications Inc.’s proposed debtor-in-possession financing deal with Silver Point Finance LLC, according to documents filed Friday with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court's Central District of California.
The Chicago-based owner of the Los Angeles Times and San Diego Union-Tribune—expected to be one of several bidders in the eventual bankruptcy auction of Freedom—cited “substantial improvements to the Proposed DIP Facility” and “Debtors’, Committee’s and Silver Point’s assurances regarding a robust and fair sale process” as reasons for the withdrawal.
The publisher of the Orange County Register in Santa Ana and Riverside-based Press-Enterprise got a $4.5 million DIP financing proposal from Silver Point last week that would enable it to operate its business during Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings.
The total is an increase from the Greenwich, Conn.-based hedge fund’s initial offer of $3 million, which had reportedly prompted Tribune Publishing to put a similar deal on the table last month.
The court is slated to decide today on which debtor-in-possession financing offer will be accepted. It also could approve Freedom’s request to hire Mosier & Company Inc. in Costa Mesa “as an independent sales representative to objectively oversee the company sale and bidding process.”
Freedom filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Nov. 1, and said Chief Executive Rich Mirman and Chairman Eric Spitz will likely join real estate developer Mike Harrah, the largest commercial property owner in Santa Ana, in an effort to buy the media company in the auction sale. The bid will include a “cash component, assumption of liabilities and the retention of the employee pension program,” according to Freedom.