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Sale Of North County Times To U-T San Diego Closed Today

Doug Manchester, owner and publisher of The San Diego Union-Tribune.

Above: Doug Manchester, owner and publisher of The San Diego Union-Tribune.

The $11.95 million-dollar sale of the Escondido-based North County Times to the company that owns U-T San Diego closed today.

The deal between San Diego-based Manchester Lynch Integrated Media Holdings, which purchased U-T San Diego last year, and Davenport, Iowa-based Lee Enterprises, which bought the North County Times in 2002, was inked Sept. 11.

"We are thrilled to complete this acquisition, as it allows U-T San Diego to provide North County residents with content of the highest quality and integrity across all our current U-T San Diego platforms,'' said U-T Publisher Douglas F. Manchester, who is also a prominent San Diego hotelier and real estate developer.

Changes in staffing and facilities are planned. In an interview, Manchester told the U-T that the total number of layoffs will be less than 100 and be primarily at the North County Times, although some U-T San Diego employees also will lose their jobs.

"We realize the human toll of this consolidation, the human pain, so we have gone above and beyond to provide severance,'' he said. "We've hired a company to come in and provide transition training and counseling.''

The sale also includes the North County Times' sister publication in southwest Riverside County, The Californian. Manchester said the publication will likely continue operating as it has been.

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