Sponsors

central ink flint kodak3

logo-atdl

Asociación Técnica de Diarios Latinoamericanos
Boletín Semanal Septiembre 18, 2018

The biotech billionaire and Los Angeles Times owner Patrick Soon-Shiong is in talks to join an investor group bidding for the newspaper publisher Tronc.

Soon-Shiong, through his investment firm Nant Capital, may partner with a private-equity firm led by the hedge-fund manager William Z. Wyatt thathas been in talks with Tronc since early August.

The biotech billionaire and Los Angeles Times owner Patrick Soon-Shiong is in talks to join an investor group bidding for the newspaper publisher Tronc, according to people familiar with the matter.

Soon-Shiong, through his investment firm Nant Capital, is in discussions to partner with Donerail Group, the private-equity firm led by the hedge-fund manager William Z. Wyatt, which has been in talks with Tronc since early August.

The people cautioned that the talks may fall apart and Soon-Shiong may choose not to work with Wyatt's firm.

A representative for Soon-Shiong could not be immediately reached for comment. A representative for Donerail Group declined to comment.

Soon-Shiong in June spent $500 million to acquire the Los Angeles Times and The San Diego Union-Tribune along with the Spanish-language newspaper Hoy and a bunch of other community newspapers from Tronc, based in Chicago.

Soon-Shiong also remains Tronc's second-largest shareholder, with a nearly 25% stake. Michael Ferro, the Chicago entrepreneur who was formerly Tronc's chairman, is the largest shareholder, with a nearly 26% stake.

The bid is not entirely surprising, as industry insiders were left wondering why Soon-Shiong coughed up so much for Tronc's California properties in June when he could have had the entire company for just another couple hundred million dollars.

Though Soon-Shiong's deal with Tronc was announced in February, negotiations to close the deal stretched for several months. The talks stalled around issues about the California newspapers' website operations, as the back end would be shared with Tronc for the next year. A partnership with Donerail would enable Soon-Shiong to seize control of those operations and implement a smoother transition.

A 66-year-old South African native and former UCLA surgeon, Soon-Shiong amassed a fortune by building and subsequently selling two biopharmaceutical companies. He owns six California hospitals, including St. Vincent and St. Francis in Los Angeles, as well as a nearly 4.5% stake in the Los Angeles Lakers.