It took 45 days instead of the anticipated 30, but the sale of Freedom Communications, which includes the Gazette, to 2100 Trust, LLC has closed.
Though terms were not disclosed, a press release says, "In conjunction with the completion of the merger, Freedom Communications has elected to make an additional one-time contribution to the Retirement Plan of Freedom Communications, Inc." The liabilities related to that plan — rumored to be somewhere between $100 million and $200 million — were thought to be one reason the deal took longer than announced.
“These last few years have been difficult ones for the media industry,” says outgoing chief executive officer Mitch Stern in the release. “The severe recession accompanied by swift changes in the methods by which people consume the news posed hard challenges to the industry. Freedom was no exception."
It's all brand new now, though, says incoming owner Aaron Kushner.
"For many years Freedom Communications has stood for journalistic excellence and dedication to the communities that it serves," he says. "We are honored to take the reins of such storied franchises and look forward to working with the many dedicated employees of our newspapers.”
Though the company is keeping the same name, it's not known whether it will continue to be based in California or somewhere else — 2100 Trust is a Boston company. Also, this may not be the last move for our daily, given that the Los Angeles Times reported when the sale was first announced that the Gazette will likely be flipped again before the end of the summer. Content director Carmen Boles has not yet responded to a request for comment.