Freedom Communications' Bankruptcy Plan Approved by Judge

Freedom Communications, the parent company of the East Valley Tribune, is one step closer to turning over its Arizona media holdings to buyer Thirteenth Street Media, after the company's reorganization plan was approved by a federal bankruptcy judge in Delaware this morning.

Freedom filed for bankruptcy last September, which, at the time, seemed to spell the end for the Trib.

After Freedom announced the Pulitzer Prize-winning Tribune would be closing its doors for the last time on January 1, 2010, a last-minute buyer showed interest in purchasing the Trib and several of Freedom's other Arizona properties.

Colorado-based Thirteenth Street Media, owned by newspaper tycoon Randy Miller, inked a $2.05 million deal to buy the Tribune, as well as the Sun City Daily News-Sun, the Ahwatukee Foothills News, Glendale/Peoria Today, Surprise Today, and Arizona Interactive in Chandler, which publishes the Clipper advertising shopper and does commercial printing.

Because Freedom is in bankruptcy, the deal with Miller needed to be approved by a judge, which happened this morning.

Freedom Communications directed New Times to a press release expressing the company's relief over the approval:   

"Navigating through Chapter 11 as rapidly as we have is a remarkable achievement, testifying to the hard work of all involved," Freedom CEO Burl Osborne says in a statement. "We have worked closely with our major constituents to implement a plan that treats our stakeholders fairly while deleveraging the company and positioning it for future success and meeting the challenges of the new media environment."

The deal with Thirteenth Street Media is expected to be completed by the end of the month.

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