Biotech billionaire buys Los Angeles Instances

Lynette Rowe
February 10, 2018

Tronc Inc., the Chicago-based owner of the, is near a deal to sell the newspaper, the Times reported on Tuesday.

Soon-Shiong has challenged majority Tronc share owner Michael Ferro on several issues, according to The Washington Post, including Ferro's use of a private jet and other executive perks.

The Times publishes Costa Mesa Daily Pilot, in addition to its main paper's circulation in OC.

Sheldon Adelson's acquisition of The Las Vegas Review-Journal was followed by resignations from a top editor, a handful of reporters, and a columnist who said he couldn't do his job after the new editor told him he couldn't write about Adelson. He also has a stake in the Los Angeles Lakers, Forbes says. Interested buyers have included media mogul David Geffen and billionaire investors Eli Broad and Ron Burkle. The deal is reported to be almost $500 million.

"He's incredibly wealthy, very smart and, as tends to be the case with billionaires, he has a big ego and he has thin skin", Kahn said.

"Newspapers in recent times have struggled to get [a purchase price of] 0.5 times revenue", said Jonathan Knee, co-director of the media and technology program at Columbia Business School and a former managing director of Morgan Stanley's media group. "It's an attractive property".

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Tronc did not immediately respond to requests for additional comment.

The top editor was replaced last week for the third time in six months and Publisher Ross Levinsohn is on unpaid leave after revelations he was a defendant in two sexual harassment lawsuits at other companies. Reports broke yesterday evening that the company was moving toward a sale.

In an interview with the Times past year, Soon-Shiong declined to say if he planned to buy the newspaper, although he acknowledged that as a major stockholder he was unhappy with the way it was being run and felt a need to ensure its survival.

Last month, the L.A. Times newsroom voted 248-44 to unionize and join the News Guild-Communication Workers of America. Shiong is a major shareholder of Tronc and one of the richest men in Los Angeles.

"Definitely a lot more to go, but this is the first time I've been feeling like the newsroom is starting to shift", said Daniel Hong, a partner at the management consulting firm Bain & Co. who specializes in the media industry.

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