Los Angeles Times, San Diego Union being sold to health care exec

LA Times to be sold to local billionaire

Publisher Ross Levinsohn had been on unpaid leave after revelations that he was a defendant in two sexual harassment lawsuits elsewhere.

The sale also includes "other related community-based publications", and the purchaser, Patrick Soon-Shiong, will assume $90 million in pension liabilities, Tronc says.

The major question now is what the Soon-Shiong era will mean for the beleaguered paper.

He also has stakes in media firm Tronc and the Los Angeles Lakers. The web version of the report, by NPR News Media Correspondent David Folkenflik, is headlined "Accusations Of "Frat House" Behavior Trail "LA Times" Publisher's Career."

Mr Soon-Shiong publicly feuded with Mr Ferro past year, as they vied to increase their stakes in the company in apparent attempts to outmanoeuvre each other for control.

Times staffers have been widely critical of Ferro's tenure at the top of Tronc, sources at and close to the paper have told CNNMoney.

Selling the Los Angeles Times would be a significant pullback for Tronc, which harboured national and global ambitions after Mr Michael W. Ferro Jr became the company's chairman and biggest shareholder two years ago.

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The journalists in the Los Angeles Times newsroom also voted overwhelmingly to form a union last month.

Tronc did not issue any public statement about the deal and a spokeswoman for Soon-Shiong did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Tribune Co., which split off its broadcast division and renamed its publishing arm Tronc (for Tribune Online Content), will continue to own the Chicago Tribune, Orlando Sentinel, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Baltimore Sun and the New York Daily News.

Tronc rejected Soon-Shiong's offer to buy Los Angeles Times a year ago which resulted in a heated debate between Soon-Shiong and the chairman of Tronc, Michael Ferro. Tronc had fended off previous efforts to buy the company outright or peel off the California newspapers.

Soon-Shiong is the founder and CEO of NantHealth, which is based out of Culver City.

Last month, the L.A. Times newsroom voted 248-44 to unionize and join the News Guild-Communication Workers of America. "Here's hoping local ownership and respect for journalism can restore morale". He made himself chairman and claimed that by "leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning to improve user experience", he could turn the LA Times into a "global entertainment brand".

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