Orange County Register Eyed by Publisher South of the Border

Someone south of the border may buy the Orange County Register.

Clean up in whichever aisles old coot heads just exploded in.

That's south of the Orange County border, not the Mexican one.

Doug Manchester, a developer who acquired the San Diego Union-Tribune in November, is reportedly interested in Freedom Communications' flagship newspaper, which the Irvine-based company took off the market after flirting with interest from Los Angeles Times publisher the Tribune Co. and Dean Singleton's chain that includes the Long Beach Press-Telegram, San Bernardino Sun and Inland Valley Daily Bulletin.

"There's no deal right now," Manchester confirmed this week with the Voice of San Diego. "Check with me in 30 days and there might be something."

He's also apparently looking at the North County Times, which serves San Diego County communities south of San Clemente, and when asked by the Voice's Rob Davis if he'd consider bidding on the Los Angeles Times and Riverside Press-Enterprise, he reportedly said, "Sure."

But a U-T-Register merger would allow their newsrooms to continue running separately, while business and other offices could merge, particularly at the management level. The Santa Ana daily already has an insider in San Diego, whose editor, Jeff Light, used to be a Grand Avenue veep.

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