Tight funding market derails MediaNews, Freedom Communications' merger

The proposed acquisition of the newspapers of Freedom Communications Inc by Denver-based MediaNews Group has run into financing, The Wall Street Journal today reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

Inhospitable debt markets forced MediaNews, which publishes the Denver Post and many other papers, to postpone attempts to get financing for the deal, the paper said.

MediaNews and its advisers believe financing terms would be prohibitive given recent market turmoil and a challenging outlook for newspaper companies, the people told the paper.

MediaNews had been in talks to buy Freedom Communications' Orange County Register and more than 100 of its newspapers for around $350 million.

Both media companies had been in discussion for more than a year, but talks broke down early this year over price, but recently renewed merger talks that would have given MediaNews control of Irvine, California-based Freedom' 33 daily and 77 weekly newspapers.

The merger could be revived if conditions improve, the paper said.