Court OKs sale of Freedom’s East Valley Tribune

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A bankruptcy court judge approved the sale of the East Valley Tribune and other Phoenix-area media holdings yesterday to a Colorado company for $2.05 million.

The sale by Freedom Communications includes the Tribune, Ahwatukee Foothills News, Sun City Daily News-Sun and Arizona Interactive, a commercial printer and publisher of The Clipper, in addition to sister Web sites.

There are about 250 employees across the properties.

Freedom Communications also owns the Colorado Springs Gazette.

The buyer is 1013 Communications LLC, an affiliate of Thirteenth Street Media of Boulder, whose president, Randy Miller, said the deal is expected to close by the end of March.

1013 publications include The Explorer, a 50,000-circulation free-distribution weekly in suburban north Tucson, and the Telluride Daily Planet, a free-distribution daily.

As part of Tuesday’s court action, a reorganization plan was approved for Freedom that includes a $25 million line of credit from General Electric Capital Corp. and elimination of $450 million in debt.

Freedom Communications filed for bankruptcy in September and announced that the Tribune newspaper would close if a buyer was not found by Dec. 31. Freedom continued to operate the newspaper as it negotiated with Thirteenth Street.