LA Times to be sold to biotech billionaire

By NHS Confederation , via Wikimedia Commons

By NHS Confederation , via Wikimedia Commons

Physician Soon-Shiong is founder and chief executive of NantHealth, based in Culver City, and No. 1 on the Los Angeles Business Journal's 2017 list of Wealthiest Angelenos.

The owner of the Los Angeles Times is in talks to sell the newspaper to a billionaire medical entrepreneur. A representative for Soon-Shiong told The Post he was traveling and unavailable for comment on the report.

The relationship between Tronc and Times staffers became particularly rocky in recent weeks. Levinsohn will be reinstated at Tronc as CEO of its newly reorganized Tribune Interactive division.

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.

Tronc acquired the San Diego Union-Tribune in May 2015.

Soon-Shiong isn't new to Tronc. The two also clashed over the sale of the parent company to Gannett, with Soon-Shiong in favor and Ferro opposed.

"I am concerned there are other agendas, independent of the newspaper's needs or the fiduciary obligations to the viability of the organization", he said at the time.

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. "Owning a newspaper can be a nice megaphone to promote your interests, and if that is a goal, the price he is willing to pay may not accurately reflect the value of the newspapers". Kirk replaced Lewis D'Vorkin, who was moved to the position of chief content for digital and mobile customers.

The LA Times Guild, which recently won the right to represent employees, welcomed the news, saying it "looks forward to working with a local owner who can help us preserve The Times as a guardian of our community and as the voice of the American West". It also reveals that Ross Levinsohn, former publisher, and C.E.O. of the L.A. Times, will be spearheading that project as their chief executive.

Discontent intensified during a staff meeting when Mr D'Vorkin said that anyone involved with leaking a recording of a previous meeting to The New York Times was "morally bankrupt", according to several people in attendance.

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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