Aug 30, 2009

Orange County Register owner to declare bankruptcy

Freedom Communications, the parent company of the Orange County Register, is expected to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy this week, the Wall Street Journal reports.

From the WSJ:
With annual revenue of about $700 million, Freedom owns the Register and more than 30 other daily papers and eight TV stations. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization -- a popular measurement for leveraged companies -- have declined about 75% over the past five years to about $50 million. ...

Freedom's lenders, which hold roughly $770 million in debt, are expected to take control of the company as it operates under bankruptcy protection. They include J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., SunTrust Banks and Union Bank of California.
The Register was started in the 1930s by R.C. Hoiles and the Hoiles family has had a majority ownership of the paper ever since. That would change under bankruptcy:
Family members representing about one half of the Hoiles clan sold their stake in the company as part of the recapitalization more than five years ago. The stake of the remaining half likely would be wiped out by a bankruptcy filing.
(via LA Observed and Romenesko)

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