Los Angeles Times Owner Exploring Company Sale

Billionaire biotech investor Patrick Soon-Shiong is exploring a Los Angeles Times sale less than three years after buying it for $ 500 million, people familiar with the matter said.

The move marks an abrupt change for Soon-Shiong, who had vowed to restore stability to the West Coast news institution and has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in the newspaper in an effort to turn it around.

When Mr. Soon-Shiong acquired the Times, the San Diego Union-Tribune, and a handful of weeklies from Tribune Publishing Co., then called Tronc Inc., in 2018, he was greeted with great fanfare by staff and observers from the media after years of confusion and reduction of publications. At the time, he said the sale represented the start of a new era and that he intended to do whatever it took to make the business viable for the next 100 years.

Since then, he has been dissatisfied with the news organization’s slow expansion of the digital audience and its substantial losses, the people said. He has also increasingly come to believe that the Los Angeles Times and the San Diego Union-Tribune – known together as the California Times company – would be better served if they were part of a larger media group, they said.

Soon-Shiong has focused heavily on her immunotherapy company’s efforts to develop a Covid-19 vaccine and has had little time to devote to the Times, people familiar with the matter said. “Covid really brought it back to the lab,” one of the people said.


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