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After Years of Discord, L.A. Times Will Once Again Have Local Ownership

The Los Angeles Times, the largest newspaper in the West, is returning to local ownership after two tumultuous decades under the Chicago-based Tribune and Tronc brands.

Nearly $500 million in cash by billionaire L.A. resident Patrick Soon-Shiong is the final price tag for both the Los Angeles Times and the San Diego Union-Tribune, reports The Washington Post.

The deal includes $90 million in pension liabilities for the paper’s staffers over the years. This acquisition comes after many conflict-filled years at the downtown office, including going through five different publishers in just four years and the recent historic vote to unionize by their employees.

The newsroom reportedly responded with applause and cheering.

Soon-Shiong, 65, is a surgeon who was born in South Africa to Chinese immigrants. He made his wealth in the biotech industry, including an anti-cancer startup named NantHealthy, and he already owned a 26 percent stake in Tronc. In his free time, he likes to play basketball.

Also read: ‘Welcome Back to L.A.,’ Jim Kirk — An Open Letter to the Latest Editor in Chief of the Los Angeles Times

Forbes called him “America’s Richest Doctor” and estimates that he is currently worth $7.8 billion. In a profile published earlier today in the L.A. Times Business section, he stated that he wanted to “save the integrity” of the publication.

The deal coincides with an unrelated announcement of the formation of Tronc Interactive, a new division to be focused on business. It also reveals that Ross Levinsohn, former publisher, and C.E.O. of the L.A. Times, will be spearheading that project as their chief executive. That decision comes after he was placed on paid leave amidst sexual harassment allegations against him and an independent investigation found him innocent of committing any wrongdoing.

Also read: Turmoil in Los Angeles Media: The L.A. Taco Guide

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