A rare article in the LAT on Friday states owner Patrick Soon-Shiong had “blasted a report” that he’s exploring a sale,, saying he’s ‘committed’ to the paper.
The WSJ reported the LAT might be sold along with several weeklies.
The LAT story also includes this statement from the WSJ: “We are aware of Dr. tweet. We are confident in our reporting and will continue to follow this developing story.”
The flap comes just days after Tribune Publishing, owner of the Chicago Tribune and New York Daily News, announced it would be sold to hedge fund Alden Global Capital for $630 million in an all-cash deal.
Alden Global Capital was “floated as a possible buyer,” of the LAT by the WSJ, the LAT story continues.
Soon-Shiong, the biotech billionaire who owns roughly 24% of Tribune Publishing, acquired the Los Angeles Times for $500 million in 2018.
Times spokesperson Hillary Manning states: “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 the company.”
However, the WSJ story must have caused some nervousness in the LAT newsroom. A report in The Chicago Tribune last week claimed Alden has “come under fire for sweeping layoffs at its newspapers.”
The WSJ story says the options being considered by Soon-Shiong include “an outright sale of the entire company, bringing in an additional investor or transferring management of the properties to another media group," people familiar with the matter said.
The story continues: "Mr. Soon-Shiong has also considered selling or transferring management of the San Diego publication to another company, possibly Alden Global Capital Inc.’s MediaNews Group, which owns several papers in the areas between the two cities.”