Tuesday, 20 February, 2018

Los Angeles Times sold to local billionaire for USD500 million

An internal investigation by Tronc of alleged workplace sexual misconduct by new Los Angeles Times Publisher and CEO Ross Levinsohn has found no wrongdoing. Levinsohn has been appointed to a new high-level position by the company Tronc sells LA Times, other publications for $500mn
Stacy Diaz | 09 February, 2018, 10:06

Los Angeles Times Publisher Ross Levinsohn, who has been on leave without pay for the past two weeks, has been cleared of sexual harassment claims and will take a new role with Times parent company Tronc as CEO of Tribune Interactive.

Tronc Inc., the paper's former owner, is expected to announce the sale of the Times and The San Diego Union-Tribune to Nant Capital, the investment firm of billionaire entrepreneur Patrick Soon-Shiong, for nearly $500 million in cash, the Times reports.

Soon-Shiong, founder and chief executive of the California-based health care firm NantHealth, has previously been critical of Tronc's leadership, accusing the company of " previous year.

The sale reflects a trend of billionaires buying up newspapers, most notably when Amazon founder Jeff Bezos bought The Washington Post in 2013 for $250 million, in a move that has reinvigorated that newspaper and raised its profile.

A basketball fanatic, Soon-Shiong also owns a minority interest in the Los Angeles Lakers.

Publishing group Tronc Inc. said it reached a deal to sell the LA Times and San Diego Union-Tribune to Soon-Shiong's Nant Capital for $500 million plus the assumption of $90 million in pension liabilities.

After the latest deal, Tronc will still own some prominent media titles, including the Chicago Tribune, the New York Daily News, the Baltimore Sun and the Orlando Sentinel. The paper just replaced its top editor, the third switch at the top job in the newsroom in six months.

The announcement Wednesday means that for the first time in 18 years the Times will be under local ownership.

Clashes between the Times and its Chicago-based owner erupted not long after it acquired the West Coast paper in 2000.

"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. It said it is buying a majority stake in online product review company BestReviews for an undisclosed amount.