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Saturday, March 19, 2016

O.C. Register and Press Enterprise Purchase Stalled

By Douglas V. Gibbs

When I was in high school, one of the jobs I held for a little while was inserting the ads and extra inserts for the Thursday and Sunday editions of the Orange County Register.  I lived in Riverside County, but the paper was so popular that its reach went beyond the borders of the O.C.  The Press Enterprise is Riverside County's largest paper, and was purchased by the O.C. Register owners in recent memory.  Now, the same company that owns San Diego County's Union-Tribune, and the Los Angeles Times, has made a bid to add the Register and the Press Enterprise to its list of owned newspapers.  However, a judge said, "No."

The federal government sued, and a federal judge has granted a temporary restraining order blocking Tribune Publishing Co.'s purchase of the Orange County Register and Press-Enterprise newspapers here in Southern California because the court claims it would give Tribune a monopoly over newspaper sales in two California Counties.

With a bankruptcy court hearing scheduled for Monday, the Tribune says the restraining order effectively removes the company from the competition to purchase the two newspapers.  The fear of the Tribune having a monopoly suggests that the company would be able to increase subscription prices and advertising rates with less competition (as if people would be willing to pay those increases for the dying remains of an outdated newsprint industry).

The Tribune Publishing Co. says that the federal regulators suing over its proposed purchase of the two newspapers in Southern California have an antiquated understanding of the industry in the digital age.

-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary

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