California papers go bankrupt — Tribune may start massive bidding war

California papers go bankrupt — Tribune may start massive bidding war

The O.C. Register and Riverside Press-Enterprise are going under -- and bigger companies are looking to gobble them up.

The owner of the Los Angeles Times has confirmed an offer to loan $3 million to Southern California newspapers O.C. Register and Riverside Press-Enterprise — and the fireworks could be about to fly.

Tribune informed a federal bankruptcy judge this week that it would be willing to loan Freedom Communications — the owner of those papers — the money to continue its operations, a move that could start a big bidding war for the valuable properties, according to an Associated Press report.

This loan would count in a bid for Tribune to assume control over the assets of Freedom, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Sunday after losing $40 million over two years under a poorly executed expansion by CEO Aaron Kushner. Newspapers in Los Angeles and Long Beach closed shortly after being started, and the ripple effects hammered the company and led to the bankruptcy.

Tribune Company owns a number of large newspapers in the United States, including the Chicago Tribune, its flagship paper, as well as the Los Angeles Times, Baltimore Sun, San Diego Union-Tribune, and a host of other smaller papers.

The company will have some competition, as hedge fund Silver Point Capital is also offering up $3 million to Freedom.

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