Magazine article Editor & Publisher

'LA Times,' 'OC Register' Discussed Distribution Partnership

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

'LA Times,' 'OC Register' Discussed Distribution Partnership

Article excerpt

The Orange County Register and the Los Angeles Times spent months discussing a possible circulation partnership in Orange County, but broke off the talks two months ago, according to executives at Freedom Communications, which owns the Register.

One source said the negotiations hit an impasse, at least in part, due to a class action lawsuit by some 6,000 current and former newspaper carriers who are suing the Register claiming $100 million in back pay and damages. The 2003 lawsuit contends they were wrongly classified as independent contractors, not employees. That lawsuit, in Orange County Superior Court, is set to go to trial on Sept. 22.

"The logic behind [a partnership] remains in place, we need to get past the litigation," Freedom CEO Scott Flanders told E&P. "We had previously had conversations that did not reach closure. Last year and into the early part of this year we were discussing whether we could obtain some synergy from the overlapping footprint we both have in Orange County."

Flanders offered few specifics about what kind of combined distribution was discussed. But he said it would likely be a single carrier delivering both newspapers in Orange County. …

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