MESA – A Colorado company that offered to buy the East Valley Tribune from Freedom Communications has expanded its offer to include two other Phoenix-area newspapers in the proposed sale.
Freedom Communications spokesman Robert Emmers said Tuesday that Boulder, Colo.-based Thirteenth Street Media also wants to buy the Ahwatukee Foothills News, The Daily News-Sun in Sun City and Arizona Interactive in Chandler, which publishes the Clipper advertising shopper. The Daily-News Sun also publishes the Glendale/Peoria Today and Surprise Today newspapers.
Previously, the Colorado company made an offer for only the East Valley Tribune. Emmers said the offer was expanded because the three papers have intertwined operations. He declined to provide details, such as the Colorado company’s asking price.
Another Freedom Communications paper in Arizona, The Sun in Yuma, wasn’t included in the offer.
Freedom Communications put the East Valley Tribune up for sale shortly after the company filed for bankruptcy protection in September. Freedom said it planned to close the paper on Dec. 31 if no buyer emerged. Thirteen Street Media, owned by Randy Miller, made its first offer in November.
The next step will be for both sides to agree to terms of the sale, and to present it to a Delaware bankruptcy court, which is overseeing Freedom’s Chapter 11 reorganization, said Tribune publisher Julie Moreno. The goal is to file the agreement sometime this month.
Miller also owns the Explorer, a 50,000-circulation free-distribution weekly covering suburban north Tucson, and the Telluride Daily Planet, a free-distribution daily.
In early 2009, the East Valley Tribune went from a daily, subscription-based publication to a free-distribution model publishing four days a week. A few months later, it dropped to a three-days-a-week publication.
Freedom Communications, based in Irvine, Calif., operates 33 daily and 77 weekly newspapers, including The Orange County (Calif.) Register.