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Owner of the Tracy Press receives a $1.1 million offer for 3 weekly newspapers

A buyer has offered $1.1 million for the Tracy Press, Scotts Valley Press Banner and Patterson Irrigator, all weekly newspapers.

Robert S. Matthews, president of the Tracy Press Inc., said in a declaration filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Sacramento (case No. 10-37525) that he received an all-cash offer from H. Lee Wilcox of Phoenix Publishing of San Angelo, Texas.

Last July, Matthews put the parent company of the Tracy and Scotts Valley newspapers into Chapter 11 bankruptcy organization. The Irrigator, serving the Stanislaus County city of Patterson, is held by an estate and not apart of the bankruptcy action.

On March 28, U.S. District Judge Christopher Klein in Sacramento is scheduled to take up Matthews’ request to sell the papers to the Texas businessman.

“After many months of trying to sell the newspaper operations, this is the highest and best offer received to date,” Matthews said in his Feb. 24 declaration.

Wilcox is offering $758,500 for the Tracy Press and Scotts Valley Press Banner and an additional $90,000 for accounts receivable. He is offering another $251,500 for the Patterson Irrigator and $30,000 more for its account receivables.

The broker in the deal, JP Media Partners, will get an 8% commission.

The economy in the Tracy area collapsed after the mortgage meltdown. Thousands of homes built earlier in the decade are in foreclosure or have resale values far below their mortgage amounts.

The Tracy Press was a daily until August 2007 when it went to three days a week. Then in March 2008 it cut back to two days a week. Last June, it switched to once a week.

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