For years the Los Angeles Times has been pursued by many including music/entertainment mogul David Geffen. But no one has been able to get their hands on it until now. Following a period of turmoil, Tronc, the parent company of The Los Angeles Times is selling the paper and all its related assets to Los Angeles based biotech billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong for a reported $500 million, $300 million more than Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos spent for The Washington Post. Mr. Soon-Shiong is the latest tech billionaire to take the newspaper plunge after Mr. Bezos. Meanwhile another billionaire who’s money is from tech but doesn’t work in the tech space is rumored to have asked if the New York Times is for sale. Laurene Powell Jobs, the wife of the late Apple founder Steve Jobs has been beefing up her media holdings over the past few years and with a net worth of about $20 billlion, The New York Times wouldn’t be out of reach.
With the sale of The LA Times, some big questions pop up. Like what will happen to recently installed Publisher/CEO Ross Levinsohn? Mr. Levinsohn was placed on leave while an investigation into his conduct at past employers was being conducted. Does this even matter anymore now that Tronc is unloading the paper? Or does this problem becomes the new owner’s problem? Is Mr. Levinsohn entitled to a pay out from the sale of the paper even though he’s been in the role for less than 6 months? If and when the deal closes, we will known soon enough as Mr. Soon-Shiong puts his stamp on the storied newspaper. No one expected Mr. Levinsohn to return to his role as CEO of the LA Times under Tronc. So it definitely not likely that he will return under new ownership. We predict the next big news out of the LA Times will be his official resignation. There is likely to be little to no change in the editorial ranks. As for Tronc, the company is said to have plans for the money it banks from the sale. Some of those plans include beefing up its digital offerings across its other titles.
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