Another major print media deal is in the offing. A Los Angeles-area businessman is in talks to buy the Los Angeles Times from Chicago-based Tronc (formerly known as Tribune Publishing), owners of the newspaper since 2000. Such a move would return the Los Angeles paper of record to local ownership in a period in which the paper has seen its share of turmoil.
The paper has seen the suspension of its publisher over sexual harassment allegations, the newsroom staff has voted to unionize, and editorial has seen no fewer than three editors-in-chief in fewer than six months.
The buyer is one Patrick Soon-Shiong, a billionaire doctor and businessman who owns companies in the healthcare sector. The South Africa-born Soon-Shiong has agreed to pay a staggering $500 million, roughly twice what Amazon founder Jeff Bezos paid for the Washington Post in 2013.
As a condition of the deal, Soon-Shiong agreed to acquire the San Diego Union-Tribune, as well as other California publishing entities. Soon-Shiong’s company will also assume $90 million in pension liabilities associated with the papers.