Biotech billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong has reached an agreement with Los Angeles Times owner over the sale of the print media.
According to reports this deal is bringing the paper back under local control for the first time in nearly two decades. Tronc, the Chicago-based company formerly known as Tribune Publishing, will sell the Times, the San Diego Union-Tribune and the rest of its California News Group to Soon-Shiong for $500 million in cash, plus the assumption of $90 million in pension liabilities, the company announced Wednesday morning.
The $500 million price tag is twice what Amazon founder Jeff Bezos paid for the Washington Post when he bought that paper in 2013, and more than seven times what Red Sox owner John Henry paid for the Boston Globe that same year.
The deal comes after a chaotic period at the Times that saw the appointment of three editors-in-chief in less than six months, the suspension of a publisher over prior sexual harassment allegations, and the creation of the Times’ first union. Times staff was largely critical of Michael Ferro, who controls Tronc, and the Times’ executive leadership.
In a statement, Soon-Shiong said, “We look forward to continuing the great tradition of award-winning journalism carried out by the reporters and editors of the Los Angeles Times, The San Diego Union-Tribune and the other California News Group titles.”