The publisher of the East Valley Tribune in the Phoenix suburb of Mesa said Friday that a buyer has made an offer that would keep the paper and its Web site in business.
Publisher Julie Moreno told Tribune staffers that Irvine, Calif.-based Freedom Communications received a letter of intent to purchase the paper, which Freedom planned to close on Dec. 31. Moreno said she understands the buyer's intent is to continue publishing and keep a substantial number of the 140 employees.
The buyer wasn't identified.
Freedom had put the newspaper up for sale shortly after the company filed for bankruptcy protection in September and said earlier this month it couldn't find a suitable buyer.
Now that an offer has been made, Freedom will seek approval from a bankruptcy judge to complete the sale by the end of the year.
Moreno said the Tribune press equipment will be part of the sale but possibly not the Tribune building and land in downtown Mesa.
The Sun City Daily News-Sun and the Ahwatukee Foothills News, two Freedom-owned papers the California company plans to continue, aren't part of the proposed sale, she said.
The Tribune won a Pulitzer earlier this year in local reporting for a series of stories about how Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's focus on immigration enforcement endangered investigations of other crimes.
Freedom operates 33 daily and 77 weekly newspapers, including the Orange County (Calif.) Register and two dailies in Arizona, the Daily Sun-News in Sun City and The Sun in Yuma.
Information from: East Valley Tribune, http://www.eastvalleytribune.com