California billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong buys the LA Times for $500 million

The transaction, which includes the San Diego Union Tribune, means that the newspaper will have a local owner for the first time in 18 years and will end the tense relationship with the corporate headquarters in Chicago.

The Los Angeles Times will be sold to California billionaire doctor Patrick Soon-Shiong , who agreed to pay $ 500 million to Chicago-based Tribune Publishing on Wednesday .

The transaction will allow this influential media outlet to be under a local owner and thus put an end to the tense relationship that has been with the administration of the newspaper from the corporate headquarters, which also owns the Chicago Tribune.

Dr. Soon-Shiong is one of the main shareholders of Tronc Inc., of Chicago, as well as one of the richest men in Los Angeles, and according to Forbes, is the wealthiest doctor in the country, with a net wealth of 7,800 million dollars.

The purchase also includes the publications of the San Diego Union-Tribune, Hoy Los Angeles and the community newspapers of the California News Group, as well as pension expenses valued at 90 million dollars.

This announcement means that the Times will have an owner of the area for the first time in 18 years.

Soon-Shiong will take the reins just as the newspaper goes through a period of turmoil , since in the last six months the LA Times has changed three times as editorial director, the highest position in the newspaper’s operations, while the editor in Chief, Ross Levinsohn , has leave of absence without payment for the accusations of sexual harassment he faces when he worked in other companies.

In addition, last month the journalists of the Times voted in favor of unionizing for the first time in the 136-year history of the newspaper.

The sale is aligned to one of the two trends in media buying and selling: large companies get bigger and wealthy investors buy newspapers for philanthropic purposes, said Al Tompkins , a professor at the Poynter Institute.

In 2013, Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos bought The Washington Post for $ 250 million. The owner of the Boston Red Sox, John Henry , bought the Boston Globe for 70 million dollars.

“We’re back how we were a century ago, when a handful of the rich controlled large and influential newspapers,” Tompkins said. “The difference is that today these companies do not promise lucrative profits, they buy them knowing that they are not even close to being as profitable as they could have been 20 or 50 years ago, today they have a smaller margin and they are reducing day by day” .

Soon-Shiong also has a minority stake in the Los Angeles Lakers team that ex-basketball player Magic Johnson bought in 2011.

Last year, Soon-Shiong told the Times during an interview that, as one of the majority shareholders, he was unhappy with the way the paper was being administered and felt the need to ensure it lasted.

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Diane Elliot

About the Author: Diane Elliot

Diane Elliot is a seasoned journalist with nearly 12 years experience. While studying journalism at University of Southern California, Diane found a passion for finding engaging stories. As a contributor to Coastal Morning Star, Diane mostly covers human interest pieces.

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