Feds Sue to Block Tribune Purchase of Orange County Register

Earlier today newspaper chain agreed to purchase the Register for $56 million

The Department of Justice has filed an antitrust lawsuit to block Tribune Publishing’s acquisition of two California newspapers, including The Orange County Register.

Earlier today Tribune agreed to purchase the Register and sister newspaper The Riverside Press-Enterprise, for $56 million.

A federal bankruptcy court judge still must approve the sale and has scheduled a hearing for Monday, however the Justice Department claims the move would give the Tribune a monopoly over newspaper sales in the region, allowing it to increase subscription prices and ad rates.

The Tribune, whose holdings include the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune was the successful bidder at a public bankruptcy auction to acquire substantially all of the assets of Freedom Communications, Inc.

“The successful bid for the business of Freedom Communications will allow the Orange County Register and the Press-Enterprise to continue providing a distinct local voice in their communities and deliver premium news and information to consumers across Southern California,” CEO of Tribune Publishing Justin Dearborn said before the lawsuit was filed.