by Pam Zubeck
UPDATE: Robert Emmers, a spokesman for Freedom, issued this statement this afternoon:
“The Freedom Board of Directors has hired and is working with financial experts in an effort to provide a structured approach to examining various strategic options that are presented to the company. The evaluation of strategic options is a normal process for a company to undertake, especially after emerging from a major restructuring with new owners in place.
“As part of this process, Freedom has been approached by a number of strategic buyers who will need to be further considered and evaluated as part of this larger process. It is the company’s responsibility to take them seriously and evaluate them as they arise. There are no recommendations or conclusions at this time.”
——- ORIGINAL POST, 1:14 p.m., THURSDAY ——-
The Gazette and other newspapers and TV stations owned by Freedom Communications are for sale, according to a column on the Poynter website.
The local daily paper has undergone a series of layoffs during the last four years while raising the cost of subscriptions.
Since emerging from bankruptcy last spring, Freedom, based in Irvine, Calif., has made a push into the digital world under leadership of CEO Mitchell Stern, who previously served as President and Chief Executive Officer of DirecTV U.S.
As Rick Edmonds notes in the Poynter column:
Earlier this month, Stern named another former Fox executive, Thomas Herwitz, to run the TV station group. Freedom is reportedly asking $400-500 million for its broadcast properties.
Larry Kramer, the digital entrepreneur who built MarketWatch, which Dow Jones ultimately acquired for $500 million, joined the Freedom board this summer.
We've asked Gazette Publisher Steve Pope what he can tell the community about the sale, whether there's a floor price and whether the listing is open-ended time-wise. We'll let you know what he says if and when we hear from him.
Meantime, keep reading The Independent, Colorado Springs' largest locally-owned newspaper.