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LA billionaire Soon-Shiong reportedly buying LA Times, San Diego paper for $500 million

By in Press Enterprise on February 7, 2018

By The Associated Press

The owner of the Los Angeles Times is in talks to sell the newspaper to a billionaire medical entrepreneur, according to news reports Tuesday.

Sources tell the Washington Post that Patrick Soon-Shiong, a Los Angeles-area physician and a major shareholder of Tronc, is buying the Los Angeles Times and the San Diego Union-Tribune. (Photo by Brad Graverson/SCNG/07-11-17

Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, a major shareholder of parent company Tronc Inc., would pay $500 million for the newspaper and the San Diego Union-Tribune, the Times reported.

The Washington Post was first to report that the sale was being negotiated.

The sale would come amid turmoil at the Times, which has had a series of publishers and top editors in recent years. Publisher Ross Levinsohn is on unpaid leave after revelations he was a defendant in two sexual harassment lawsuits at other companies. Journalists voted last month to unionize for the first time in the paper’s 136-year history.

Soon-Shiong, said by Forbes to be the nation’s richest doctor, made the bulk of his fortune selling two of the drug companies that he founded for a total of nearly $9 billion a decade ago. Forbes put his current wealth at $7.8 billion.

Soon-Shiong owns more than a quarter of shares in Chicago-based Tronc, the company formerly known as Tribune Publishing. It owns 10 U.S. newspapers, including the Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun and New York Daily News.

Word of the possible sale was met with cheers at the Times, according to reporters tweeting from the newsroom.

Soon-Shiong’s holdings include not only his Tronc stock but also a minority interest in the Los Angeles Lakers that he purchased in 2011 from Magic Johnson, the team’s former superstar and current president of basketball operations.

In an interview with the Times last year, Soon-Shiong declined to say if he planned to buy the newspaper, […]    

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