LA Times suitor is basketball-loving billionaire doctor

Tronc To Sell Los Angeles Times Other Newspapers For $500 Million

Tronc To Sell Los Angeles Times Other Newspapers For $500 Million

Tronc Inc., the paper's former owner, is expected to announce the sale of the Times and The San Diego Union-Tribune to Nant Capital, the investment firm of billionaire entrepreneur Patrick Soon-Shiong, for nearly $500 million in cash, the Times reports.

The buyer, Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, is the latest in a procession of billionaires who've snatched up large media companies in recent years - but you probably haven't heard his name. After the deal was announced, the union representing the paper's journalists said it "looks forward to working with a local owner who can help us preserve The Times as a guardian of our community and as the voice of the American West".

"We are pleased to transition leadership of the Los Angeles Times and The San Diego Union-Tribune to local ownership, and we are certain that the journalistic excellence in Southern California will continue long into the future", said Justin Dearborn, chief executive of Tronc, the name adopted for the group previously known as Tribune Publishing. Last month, journalists at the paper, defying pressure from the publication's leaders to abandon the effort.

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. Jeff Bezos acquired the Washington Post in 2013, and John Henry agreed to buy the Boston Globe the same year.

News of the sale comes amid intense upheaval at the Times, where staffers have clashed with management installed by Tronc over the paper's editorial direction. Tronc said Wednesday he was cleared of any wrongdoing. "Today it's a thinner margin, and it gets thinner every day".

Soon-Shiong, born in South Africa to Chinese parents, also owns a stake in the Los Angeles Lakers basketball team.

Tronc said the sale will allow the Chicago company to follow a more aggressive growth strategy focused on news and digital media.

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