Panel Undecided on New Board at Freedom

A council of the Hoiles family, owner of Freedom Communications Inc., concluded its discussions in Irvine on Monday without deciding whom to recommend as board members if the parent of the Orange County Register newspaper completes a deal to become a partner with two East Coast buyout firms.

"Only one director is certain at this point, and that is me," said Freedom Chief Executive Alan J. Bell.

Bell would stay on if investors pass a plan to have Blackstone Group and Providence Equity Partners buy shares from family members who want to sell some or all of their holdings.

If the deal goes through, the new board would be made up of four directors from the family, four from the investment firms, four independent directors and the CEO. Bell said the slate may not be finalized by the time a proxy statement goes out to shareholders this month. But the family would know who would serve on the new board by the time it voted on the proposed deal this year or early next year.

-- E. Scott Reckard

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