L.A. Times Owner Disputes Report That He Plans to Sell

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The Los Angeles Times said its billionaire owner, Patrick Soon-Shiong, isn’t looking to sell the business, countering a report in the Wall Street Journal that he was considering unloading the struggling newspaper.

L.A. Times Owner Disputes Report That He Plans to Sell

“Dr. Soon-Shiong and his family continue to invest in and plan for the future of the Los Angeles Times, and do not plan to sell,” representative Hillary Manning said Friday in an emailed statement.

Soon-Shiong himself went on Twitter to describe the story as “inaccurate,” saying he was committed to the Times.

Soon-Shiong’s daughter, Nika, chimed in with a tweet of her own: “WSJ is 100% wrong.”

The Journal cited unidentified people familiar with the matter in reporting that Soon-Shiong, a biotech entrepreneur, was exploring a sale less than three years after buying the paper for $500 million. In 2018, he acquired the Times along with the San Diego-Union Tribune and some other publications from Tronc Inc., now known as Tribune Publishing Co.

Steve Severinghaus, a spokesman for the Wall Street Journal, said in a statement that the paper was “aware of Dr. Soon-Shiong’s tweet.”

“We are confident in our reporting and will continue to follow this developing story,” he said.

Soon-Shiong is one of a handful of billionaires who have bought major newspapers in the past few years, promising to use their wealth to keep them afloat as they try to make the transition to a digital future. Jeff Bezos acquired the Washington Post in 2013, and John Henry agreed to buy the Boston Globe the same year.

Such wealthy benefactors have also insulated those papers from the pressures of Wall Street and the private equity firms and hedge funds that are buying newspapers, then squeezing out what profits remain. Earlier this week, Tribune Publishing, the owner of the Chicago Tribune and New York Daily News, agreed to be acquired by Alden Global Capital LLC, putting a hedge fund known for cutting its newsrooms atop one of the nation’s largest newspaper companies.

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