This story was written by Rafat Ali.
Freedom Communications, the parent of the Orange County Register and 100 other regional newspapers, will become the latest news media company to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection this week, according to reports in WSJ and NYT. With this filing, the company will be handed over to its lenders—which include JPMorgan Chase, SunTrust and Union Bank of California—but will wipe out its two minority PE owners Blackstone Group and Providence Equity Partners. The Irvine, CA.-based Freedom has been majority owned for more than 70 years by the Hoiles family; it recently lost its CEO Scott Flanders, who left to join another troubled media company Playboy Enterprises as its CEO. Blackstone and Providence acquired a 40 percent equity stake in Freedom in 2004 for about $460 million, but have since written down their stakes.
By Rafat Ali