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Court approves sale of AFN, Tribune

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Posted: Thursday, March 11, 2010 12:00 am

A federal bankruptcy judge on Tuesday approved the sale of the Ahwatukee Foothills News — as well as Freedom Communications’ other Valley publications — to 1013 Communications LLC.

The $2.05 million sale is expected to close by the end of March, and also includes purchase of the Tribune in Mesa, the Daily News-Sun in Sun City, Glendale/Peoria Today and Surprise Today. The company also will operate the Arizona Interactive Media Group, which publishes the Clipper, a monthly direct-mail product, and the ahwatukee.com, yourwestvalley.com, EastValleyTribune.com Web sites.

“They are excellent, community-focused papers which are at the core of our business strategy," said Randy Miller, owner of Thirteenth Street Media. "And Arizona Interactive Media Group gives us a solid base to grow as the media landscape continues to evolve.”

1013 Communications is a partnership of Thirteenth Street Media of Boulder, Colo., and 10K Investments LLC based on Reno, Nev. Thirteenth Street Media is publisher of the Explorer, a 50,000-circulation free-distribution weekly in suburban north Tucson, and the Telluride (Colorado) Daily Planet, a free-distribution daily.

Miller, president of Thirteenth Street, was the owner of the Colorado Daily newspaper in Boulder until selling it to E.W. Scripps Co. He is a former executive with Lee Enterprises and Gannett.

10K’s principals are Brett Coleman and Arne Hoel. Hoel has been in the newspaper business with Swift Communications for 21 years, managing, acquiring and starting both free and paid circulation community newspapers.

Freedom said it was pleased with the transaction.

“We are very pleased we were able to find a buyer who has extensive experience in the media industry and who shares a strong commitment to serving the needs of local readers and advertisers,” said Freedom Chief Executive Officer Burl Osborne. “We believe this is the best outcome for our employees, advertisers, readers and other customers. The communities we have served will be in excellent hands.”

Also on Tuesday, Freedom announced that the U.S. Bankruptcy Court confirmed its plan of reorganization. The company is working emerge from Chapter 11 by the end of March.

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