The Los Angeles Times is on the verge of a sale that would take it from its Chicago-based parent company and put it in the hands of a local billionaire doctor, a person with knowledge of the deal tells the AP. Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong is expected to pay Tronc Inc. $500 million for the newspaper and the San Diego Union-Tribune, the insider says. The person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the sale hadn't been finalized, says the deal is coming together quickly, but warns it could still fall apart. Soon-Shiong is a major Tronc shareholder. He's among the richest men in LA and, according to Forbes, is the nation's richest doctor, with a net worth of $7.8 billion. He is now working on a cure for cancer.
He would become the first local owner of the Times in 18 years, but would be buying the paper in a time of turmoil. The top editor was replaced last week for the third time in six months and publisher Ross Levinsohn is on unpaid leave after revelations he was a defendant in two sexual harassment lawsuits at other companies. Journalists voted last month to unionize for the first time in the paper's 136-year history. Tronc, the company formerly known as Tribune Publishing, owns 10 US newspapers, including the Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun, and New York Daily News, which would not be part of the deal.
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