Billionaire doctor buys Los Angeles Times


Billionaire doctor buys Los Angeles Times

Soon-Shiong had been said to be among a group of wealthy Angelenos who were interested in buying the newspaper several years ago.

If nothing else, the break from corporate owners in Chicago represents a return to local control, which was applauded in the Times newsroom Tuesday when news of the pending sale broke. Times staffers were fed up with the way Tronc was handling the staff and its resources, cutting costs and pushing new-fangled digital strategies at every opportunity. An investigation previous year by Politico found "found that the majority of [Soon-Shiong's NantHealth Foundation's expenditures] flow to businesses and not-for-profits controlled by Soon-Shiong himself, and the majority of its grants have gone to entities that have business deals with his for-profit firms".

Tronc shareholder and NantHealth founder and CEO Patrick Soon-Shiong is expected to buy the paper, people involved with the deal told the Post.

Following a tumultuous few months, which saw three editors in chief take the helm in six months; publisher Ross Levinsohn put on unpaid leave after a sexual harassment investigation; and a newly unionized newsroom, parent company Tronc officially hands the titles off.

He says his goal is to cure cancer.

Kahn, who wrote about Soon-Shiong's charitable giving for Los Angeles Magazine, said it would great if Soon-Shiong sees his investment in the newspapers as a way to boost civic culture and standing in Southern California - as long as there's a clear separation from his other companies.

In recent weeks, reporters and editors grew concerned that management was keeping them in the dark about the company's strategic plans, which appeared to include the hiring of new editors and outside contributors who would produce centralised content across Tronc's publications.

Dearborn also said tronc had acquired a majority ownership stake in Best Reviews, an online product review company based in San Francisco, California and Reno.

The sale comes about a week after veteran Chicago journalist Jim Kirk was named editor in chief to replace Lewis D'Vorkin, whose short tenure was marked by clashes with staff. It owns 10 US newspapers, including the Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun and New York Daily News. Traditionally, the editorial and business sides of a paper work separately to maintain journalistic credibility.

The question is whether a new owner will do more than halt cutbacks by reinvesting, as Bezos and Henry did at their newspapers, to set the Times on a new path.



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