Copley Sells ‘Daily Breeze’ To Hearst/MediaNews Group

By: E&P Staff

The Copley Press has agreed to sell the Daily Breeze in Torrance, Calif., in a complicated deal that involves Hearst Newspapers and MediaNews Group.

Hearst will purchase the paper for $25 million and plans to turn the operations over to MediaNews Group, according to the Breeze.

The Breeze?s Muhammed El-Hasan reported that Copley senior vice president Harold Fuson, said, ?We have every reason to believe that it will close very soon?

Hearst revealed its plans to buy the paper in a San Francisco court filing on Wednesday, the Breeze reported. The document said that Hearst then planned to sell the Breeze to MediaNews Group. The Breeze quoted the filing, which stated Hearst ?considers a 30% interest in MediaNews Group?s non-Bay Area assets to be a good investment for the purchase price.?

Hearst and MediaNews Group teamed up earlier this spring in a complex newspaper transaction that involved McClatchy castoffs. When McClatchy acquired Knight Ridder last year, it put up for sale 12 former Knight Ridder papers. McClatchy sold the California papers San Jose Mercury News and Contra Costa Times to MediaNews Group. Hearst bought the St. Paul (Minn.) Pioneer Press and The Monterey County (Calif.) Herald with the intentions of selling them to MediaNews Group.

San Francisco investor Clint Reilly has filed a lawsuit against the Hearst/MediaNews Group transaction arguing the companies are colluding to lock up the Bay Area market. Hearst owns the San Francisco Chronicle.

A U.S. District Court granted Reilly an injunction last week.

Those hearings have stymied the Breeze transaction. ?The closing probably would have already occurred had it no have been for the legal proceeding in San Francisco,? Fuson told the Breeze.

Fuson is unconcerned the lawsuit will jeopardize the Breeze transaction. ?The matters in dispute in that legal action are purely specific to the San Francisco Bay Area,? he told El-Hasan.

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