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Liberty Publisher Going Public

June 5, 2002

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NORTHBROOK, Ill. (AP) _ Liberty Group Publishing Inc., which owns 330 small newspapers and shoppers in 17 states, has filed for an initial public offering in which it said it intends to sell as much as $225 million in common stock.

Liberty Group Publishing, owned by Los Angeles-based private equity fund Leonard Green & Partners, filed its registration for an IPO with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday.

The company indicated in the filing that proceeds will be used to pay down debt, most of it the result of acquisitions.

Liberty Group Publishing was formed in 1998 with a $310 million acquisition of about 40 percent of American Publishing Co. from Hollinger International Inc., owner of the Chicago Sun-Times. That gave it 160 daily and weekly papers, a number that has been expanded through swaps and acquisitions.

It currently publishes 67 small dailies, 140 non-dailies and 123 free shoppers. Among the biggest dailies are The Daily Telegram in Adrian, Mich., with a circulation of about 15,000, and the Pekin Daily Times in Pekin, Ill., with a circulation of about 12,000.

The company had a net loss of $19.7 million on revenues of $195.2 million last year, according to the SEC filing. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization were $42.8 million.

No other details on the proposed IPO were available. Companies are barred from public comment during the ``quiet period″ before a stock offering.

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