Via news release, A.H. Belo CEO Jim Moroney says:
“We are pleased to have found a partner in Freedom Communications to purchase The Press-Enterprise assets who we know will continue to support journalism as we have in the critical Inland Southern California region. We thank our colleagues in Riverside for their hard work and support as we have been privileged to own and operate The Press-Enterprise for the past sixteen years. The proceeds received in this transaction will provide funds for A. H. Belo to continue to diversify its revenue streams and increase shareholder returns in the future.”
Freedom Communications formerly owned WLNE-TV, Channel 6, in Providence. The company's flagship newspaper is the Orange County Register.
The sale of the Press-Enterprise won't stifle speculation about whether A.H. Belo will sell the ProJo. Rumors of a possible sale have waxed and waned for years, and the Journal is proceeding with the latest in a series of staff reductions.
The value of newspapers has dropped dramatically with the growth of the Internet. Belo bought the Journal Company, which included a lucrative group of TV stations, for $1.5 billion in 1997.
Freedom Communications' purchase of the the Press-Enterprise is expected to close in mid-October.