Tronc to sell LA Times, other newspapers for US$500 mln


The man buying the Los Angeles Times is a 65-year-old physician-entrepreneur described by Forbes Magazine as "America's richest doctor".

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.

Dr Soon-Shiong‚ who was born to Chinese parents and studied at the University of the Witwatersrand‚ paid $500-million for the titles and also took on $90-million in pension liabilities from publishing group Tronc.

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"Reporters at the Times said Tronc and Soon-Shiong are ", in a deal that came together in only five days. Last month, journalists at the paper, defying pressure from the publication's leaders to abandon the effort. Levinsohn was tapped as publisher in September, but was forced to take a voluntary leave of absence without pay on January 19, when NPR unearthed what it claimed was a past history of sexual harassment in previous media jobs, including being named as a defendant in two lawsuits.

He's been an outspoken critic of the way Tronc has run the Times since he became a major investor about 18 months ago.

Tronc stock jumped 19 percent to close at $21.55 a share Wednesday on the Nasdaq market.

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Overall, the response among Times staffers to the news of the reported sale was positive, one reporter in the newsroom tweeted on Tuesday. Jeff Bezos acquired the Washington Post in 2013, and John Henry agreed to buy the Boston Globe the same year. You take it over knowing it isn't almost as profitable as it might have been 20 or 50 years ago.

"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.

Tronc said the sale will allow the Chicago company to follow a more aggressive growth strategy focused on news and digital media. It said it is buying a majority stake in online product review company BestReviews for an undisclosed amount.

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