Monday, November 30, 2009

East Valley Tribune May Have a Buyer

By Mike Sunnucks
Phoenix Business Journal

A Tucson newspaper publisher has a letter of intent to buy the East Valley Tribune and rescue the Mesa paper from closure. A letter of intent has been finalized between Freedom Communications, which owns the Tribune, and Randy Miller's Thirteenth Street Media.

Miller owns the Tucson Explorer newspaper. The Tribune confirmed the pending sale which includes Miller buying the Mesa paper's assets and debts. A price was not disclosed.

California-based Freedom is in Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and was planning on closing the Tribune at the end of the year if a buyer was not found.

The Explorer is a free weekly paper with a 50,000-reader circulation. Miller also owns the Telluride (Colo.) Daily Plant, a free daily newspaper. A statement by the Tribune said Miller would model the East Valley paper after the Explorer with a focus on local, suburban news.

Miller is expected to keep a "substantial number" of the Tribune's remaining 140 employees, according the Tribune's statement. The sale needs to be approved by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court handling Freedom's Chapter 11.

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