IRVINE • Freedom Communications Holdings, Inc. announced today that it has agreed to be acquired by 2100 Trust, LLC in a merger with a subsidiary of 2100 Trust.
At the time the transaction closes, Freedom's businesses will consist of its flagship Orange County Register, the Barstow, CA Desert Dispatch, The Gazette in Colorado Springs, CO, the Marysville, CA Appeal-Democrat, The Porterville Record in Porterville, CA, the Victorville, CA Daily Press and The Sun in Yuma, AZ and their associated non-daily publications along with specialty publications and digital properties, including the Hesperia Star. The Company had previously announced sales of its other newspaper assets and broadcast properties, which sales have closed or are expected to close within the next few weeks.
It is expected that the transaction, the value of which was not disclosed, will be completed in about 30 days. All current Freedom employees at the operating locations will transition to the new ownership, said Mitchell Stern, Freedom's Chief Executive officer.
"While providing the value that our shareholders have sought, this transaction also ensures Freedom's communities that our newspapers serve will continue to receive the outstanding service that has been our hallmark," Stern said. "Our employees will be able to continue the community journalism at which they so excel."
"The new owners have a long-standing interest in community journalism and understand the critical role that newspapers, despite all the changes of recent years, continue to play in providing the information that people need and can't find anywhere else," said Mark McEachen, Freedom's Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer.
R. C. Hoiles founded Freedom after acquiring what was then the Santa Ana Register in 1935. The company eventually grew to be one of the largest media companies in the country with 100 daily and weekly newspapers, numerous news websites and specialty publications and eight broadcast stations.
"We couldn't be more pleased with the opportunity to lead the hard-working and talented employees of Freedom Communications in serving these communities. We believe that newspapers are essential to the fabric of our lives and are excited to own and grow these unique institutions," said Aaron Kushner, 2100 Trust's Chief Executive Officer.