U.S. Justice Department Sues to Block Sale of Orange County Newspaper

As Internet took the centre stage, the newspaper industry suffered a setback. Since then, consolidations have grown in number for years as newspapers struggled for existence. Readers and advertisers both turned away from the printed version of news making it tougher for the printed media to survive.

On Thursday, the U. S. Justice Department sued to block a deal among newspapers where Tribune Publishing Co. wanted to buy the bankrupt Orange County Register and one more of the Southern California newspapers. The Justice Department argues that the $56 million deal will curb competition and affect the region's advertisers and readers both.

The action was initiated soon after Tribune announced winning a bid to acquire the Register and Press-Enterprise of Riverside. Freedom Communications owns both the newspapers.

Tribune's contender for Freedom's newspapers was Digital First Media and an investor group which was headed by Freedom's present managers, who later pulled out from the bidding war. The more than hundred year old newspaper serves a prosperous county which houses the Disneyland.

The Tribune currently runs, the Los Angeles Times and San Diego Union-Tribune.

The sale requires an approval from a federal bankruptcy court judge. If it works out, the deal will give Tribune control of four of the biggest daily newspapers in Southern California.