Bankruptcy Judge Approves Financing for Owner of O.C. Register

by San Antonio Attorney

The Orange County Register has been approved for a 4.5-million loan by a federal judge.  This approval will also allow the Orange County Register to operate during the filing of bankruptcy.

This will precipitate a possible bidding rivalry between an insider group and the owners of the Los Angeles Times and the Los Angeles Daily News.

This approval took place in the U.S.  Bankruptcy Court in Santa Ana last Monday.

This allowed Silver Point Capital, a hedge fund, to provide a debtor-in-possession financing to Orange County Register owner, Freedom Communications.

Freedom Communications expressed its plan to sell its own assets at a scheduled court auction.

Tribune Publishing, proprietor of Los Angeles Times, revealed its expectation to bid for Freedom’s assets and also offered to fund the publisher through its bankruptcy.

Silver Point’s initial offer of $3 million was matched by Tribune.  However, they had hesitation since the proposal had too many ‘strings attached’ and this would’ve benefitted the insider group’s personal interest of purchasing Freedom Communications.

But Tribune dropped their objections when Silver Point finally increased its loan offer by $1.5 million.  Tribune also stated that the new loan contained ‘substantial improvements’ and received assurances from Freedom, according to court documents.

Silver Point explained that its $4.5-million loan would ‘allow the debtors to turn their attention to marketing their assets and selling them to the best and highest bidder or bidders’, according to a court filing.

Should another bidder such as the Chicago-based Tribune participate, this is most likely to face competition from other companies.

One of the interested parties includes Digital First Media, the owner of the Los Angeles Daily News and the Long Beach Press-Telegram.

The details for the auction have not been scheduled but the sale process is expected to be ready by March.

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