The owner of the Los Angeles Times has reached a deal to sell the paper to biotech billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong, bringing the paper back under local control for the 1st time in nearly two decades.
Tronc, the Chicago-based company formerly known as Tribune Publishing, will sell the Times, the San Diego Union-Tribune along with the rest of its California News Group to Soon-Shiong for $500 million in cash, plus the assumption of $0 million in pension liabilities, the company announced Wednesday morning.
The $500 million cost tag is actually twice what Amazon founder Jeff Bezos paid for the Washington Post when he bought of which paper in 2013, along with more than seven times what Red Sox owner John Henry paid for the Boston Globe of which same year.
The deal comes after a chaotic period at the Times of which saw the appointment of three editors-in-chief in less than six months, the suspension of a publisher over prior sexual harassment allegations, along with the creation of the Times’ first union. Times staff was largely critical of Michael Ferro, who controls Tronc, along with the Times’ executive leadership.
Separately on Wednesday, Tronc announced of which Ross Levinsohn, the publisher who had been suspended, would certainly be reinstated at Tronc as CEO of a brand new division called Tronc Interactive. Levinsohn will oversee digital activities for Tronc’s remaining papers, which include the Chicago Tribune, the brand new York Daily News along with the Baltimore Sun.
Related: What went wrong at the Los Angeles Times?
The major question today is actually what the Soon-Shiong era will mean for the beleaguered paper. Known as “the earth’s richest doctor,” Soon-Shiong is actually a controversial figure inside the healthcare industry along with on Wall Street. Shares of his biotech companies, NantHealth along with NantKwest, have both fallen by more than 80% since he took them public. An initiative he launched to eradicate cancer by 2020 was described by STAT News as “an elaborate marketing tool” for his businesses. (Through a spokeswoman, Soon-Shiong responded to of which story in two statements, saying the initiative had made “remarkable progress.”)
In a statement, Soon-Shiong said, “We look forward to continuing the great tradition of award-winning journalism carried out by the reporters along with editors of the Los Angeles Times, The San Diego Union-Tribune along with the different California News Group titles.”
sy88pgw (brand new York) First published February 7, 2018: 9:24 AM ET