Orange County Register owner expands print bet with $27M buy of Riverside Press-Enterprise

Justin Pritchard, The Associated Press 0

LOS ANGELES, Calif. – The publisher of the Orange County Register is expanding its bet on the profitability of printed newspapers with the $27 million purchase of The Press-Enterprise of Riverside.

The deal was announced Thursday by the Register’s privately held parent company, Freedom Communications Inc., and Dallas-based A.H. Belo Corp., which has owned The Press-Enterprise for 16 years.

Freedom Communications will acquire the newspaper, production facility and land in Southern California’s interior under a deal expected to close in mid-October.

It’s the latest acquisition for Freedom Communications CEO Aaron Kushner, who bought the Register a year ago and has since increased its staff size and page counts. His company publishes four daily newspapers, including the Long Beach Register, which it launched in August to compete with the Long Beach Press-Telegram, founded more than a century ago.

Kushner’s approach to newspapering has attracted some skepticism among those who cite the long-term decline of print circulation and the increasing delivery of news online.

In an interview Thursday, Kushner wouldn’t specify how The Press-Enterprise might change other than that the paper would be “giving more value to subscribers.”

“That does typically mean that you need more journalists and more pages,” he said.

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