A letter of intent has been finalized between Freedom Communications and Thirteenth Street Media, owner of The Explorer, for the sale of the East Valley Tribune.
In addition to The Explorer, Thirteenth Street Media owns the Telluride (Colo.) Daily Planet, a free-distribution daily.
Randy Miller, owner of Thirteenth Street Media and a newspaper industry veteran, said "the East Valley Tribune, like The Explorer, would focus on being the essential source of local news and advertising," a release said.
The Explorer is currently printed by the East Valley Tribune, and trucked from Mesa to Northwest Tucson each Tuesday night. Beyond that synergy, Miller said the acquisition is a good fit, "since both papers share a free-circulation model and a similar approach to suburban coverage."
Miller is expected to retain a substantial number of East Valley Tribune employees. Freedom, which filed for federal bankruptcy protection in September, said it would seek court approval to complete the sale of the Tribune by the end of the year.