Published: Thu, February 08, 2018
Markets | By Rosalie Gross

Tronc: Ex-Times publisher cleared of wrongdoing

Tronc: Ex-Times publisher cleared of wrongdoing

The deal, announced Wednesday, moves the Los Angeles Times to local ownership after 18 often-contentious years in the fold of the Chicago-based newspaper publisher, formerly known as Tribune Publishing.

Soon-Shiong now works with health startups.His company, called NantWorks, is based in Culver City and controls six California hospital, including St. Vincent Medical Center near Downtown Los Angeles, according to the L.A. Times.

"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", Soon- Shiong said.

Neither Soon-Shiong nor Tronc responded to requests for comment made by the FT.

The almost $500 million deal would return the Times to local ownership after 18 years and represent a major shift for Tronc, which has long built its strategy around owning newspapers in the country's largest cities.

Levinsohn's leave of absence commenced after a National Public Radio report that he was a defendant in two sexual harassment lawsuits.

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An L.A. biotech billionaire who tried to buy the Orange County Register two years ago is now said to be bidding on the Los Angeles Times. Its other newspapers include The Baltimore Sun and The Hartford Courant. The company has a market cap of almost $750 million.

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. Times staff was largely critical of Michael Ferro, who controls Tronc, and the Times' executive leadership.

The potential sale of the Times, one of the most prominent and decorated newspapers in the country, comes after months of turmoil and management turnover, during which journalists have been increasingly at odds with Tronc executives in Chicago and the leaders they have sent to run the paper's newsroom.

Less than 10 days later, Editor-in-Chief Lewis D'Vorkin, brought in at the same time as Levinsohn, was moved out of the post to become chief content officer at tronc. Mr Soon-Shiong was also named the company's vice chairman.

Even when you throw in the Union-Tribune, which Tronc bought for $85 million in 2015, the $500 million total appears inflated.

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