February 16, 2019

Los Angeles Times sold to local billionaire for USD500 million

09 February 2018, 10:22 | Randall Craig

Tronc sells LA Times, other publications for $500mn


-The struggling Los Angeles Times found a local savior in a biotech billionaire willing to buy the storied newspaper from a corporation half a continent away, but the change of ownership brings its own set of questions and uncertainty.

The deal includes The San Diego Union-Tribune, various titles in the California News Group and the assumption of $90 million in pension liabilities.

Soon-Shiong has been the subject of several unflattering reports, including in the Times, which have raised concerns about his business practices and charitable giving.

Tell us why you read The Times and what you want the new owner to know. Last month, journalists at the paper, defying pressure from the publication's leaders to abandon the effort.

Clashes between the Times and its Chicago-based owner erupted not long after it acquired the West Coast paper in 2000.

Levinsohn has been on unpaid leave since January 19 following a report by National Public Radio that he was the defendant in two sexual harassment lawsuits.

Soon-Shiong Associated Press

Also tossed a Tronc lifeline was Lewis D'Vorkin, who was ousted in January as editor-in-chief of the LA Times after two months on the job. Tronc said Wednesday he was cleared of any wrongdoing.

Overall, the response among Times staffers to the news of the reported sale was positive, one reporter in the newsroom tweeted on Tuesday.

Now, the 44-time Pulitzer-winning institution is banking on the same strategy as the Washington Post (Jeff Bezos), The Boston Globe (John Henry), and the Minneapolis Star Tribune (Glen Taylor): it's hoping a billionaire will turn the ship around.

"Here's the difference: The ownership today does not promise lucrative returns".

In a note to staff at the publications‚ quoted by the Los Angeles Times‚ Soon-Shiong wrote: "It is often said that Southern California is the place where the world comes to see its future".

"Given the huge challenges still faced by news publishing in the age of Google/Facebook ad duopoly and still-onrushing digital disruption, even a billionaire has his work cut out for him", Doctor said.

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