Gazette deal falls through

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The Gazette caught the eye of some Texas investors, but apparently a deal couldn't be worked out, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The Journal story gives a rundown of the Gazette's parent Freedom Communications' efforts to sell its papers. Notably, it reported this:

A group led by Jeremy Halbreich, former chairman and chief executive of the Chicago Sun-Times, is in discussions to buy Freedom's papers in Texas.

The talks, which in some cases would include nondaily publications, are at various stages and might not result in any deals, a person familiar with the matter said. Talks with Anthem Newspaper Holdings LLC to buy Freedom's Gazette newspaper in Colorado Springs, Colo., recently broke down, the people said.

According to a 2010 report on examiner.com, Anthem Holdings LLC owns about 6 percent of Dallas-based A.H. Belo Co. Belo owns The Dallas Morning News and other newspapers as well as KVUE, Austin’s ABC affiliate, and other TV stations.

Brian Ferguson, a principal owner of Anthem, has tried to buy several newspapers in recent years, including the Rocky Mountain News, Austin American-Statesman and the Honolulu Advertiser.

The Wall Street Journal also reported:

Since Freedom emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in April 2010, the hedge funds that control the company have been trying to auction off its assets. Freedom last month sold its two New Mexico daily papers, the News Journal in Clovis and the Portales News-Tribune, to Clovis Media Inc. A few months ago, Freedom agreed to sell its eight TV stations to Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. SBGI +0.42%for $385 million.

Freedom was in talks last year to sell all of its more than 100 daily and weekly newspapers to Denver Post publisher MediaNews Group Inc. for around $350 million, but the deal got derailed because MediaNews had difficulty obtaining financing.

Meantime, the Gazette has posted the following jobs on Freedom's website: listings coordinator, designer, A&E editor, operations coordinator, reporter for the Air Force Academy's Spirit newspaper, which the Gazette produces, and copy editor.

By the way, the A&E opening results from the recent resignation of Warren Epstein, who led the newspaper's Dream City initiative.

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