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San Diego Union-Tribune Being Sold to Equity Firm

The San Diego Union-Tribune is being sold to a Beverly  Hills-based private equity firm, it was announced today .

It wasn't disclosed how much Platinum Equity would pay The Copley Press  for the newspaper, only that the transaction is expected to be completed in the  second quarter of the year, according to a joint statement.

The La Jolla-based newspaper group announced in July that it hired a New  York-based investment banking firm to "explore strategic options" for the  company's future, including a potential sale.

Harold W. Fuson Jr., Copley's executive vice president, said Platinum  Equity emerged from that process as the bidder "best equipped" to preserve  the Union-Tribune as a community institution.

"This is a vital business with a long tradition of public service and a  preeminent position in one of America's finest media markets," Fuson said.  "At this important juncture, we believe that Platinum Equity is the right  partner for the Union-Tribune, its employees and the San Diego community."

The Platinum Equity group includes David Black, who owns and operates  more than 150 newspapers in the U.S. and Canada.

"The union-Tribune is a premier media property in an outstanding  market," Black said in a statement.

Louis Samson, who led Platinum Equity's acquisition of the newspaper  called the Union-Tribune, "more than a business. It's an institution in San  Diego."

He added that "it faces enormous challenge in a period of tremendous  upheaval for the newspaper industry. We will bring a strong operational focus  that helps ensure the Union-Tribune not only survives in this market, but  thrives."

The sale comes as many other newspapers are going out of business or  becoming online-only media outlets.

According to the Union-Tribune, its advertising has dropped 40 percent  since 2006.

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