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San Diego Union-Tribune, LA Times Could Soon Have A New Owner

Pedestrians look at news photos posted outside the Los Angeles Times building...

Credit: Associated Press

Above: Pedestrians look at news photos posted outside the Los Angeles Times building in downtown Los Angeles, May 16, 2016.

The San Diego Union-Tribune could soon have a new owner, with a report Tuesday that Chicago-based Tronc plans to sell that paper and the Los Angeles Times to health-care billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong.

The Washington Post first broke the story Tuesday afternoon, citing "people familiar with the company's plans." A short time later, the Times and the Union-Tribune posted their own story, saying Tronc is working to sell the papers to Soon-Shiong.

Tronc, previously known as Tribune Co., has owned the Union-Tribune since 2015. It purchased the Times in 2000.

The Times' newsroom has been in turmoil in recent weeks. A new editor, Jim Kirk, was named in late January following rising concern by staffers over the direction of newsroom management and concerns about the blurring of the line between the news and business departments. Kirk replaced Lewis D'Vorkin, who was moved to the position of chief content for digital and mobile customers.

The paper's publisher, Ross Levinsohn, was placed on unpaid leave following revelations he was a defendant in two sexual harassment suits while working at other companies prior to joining The Times.

Most notably, newsroom staffers voted overwhelmingly last month to unionize for the first time in the paper's 136-year history.

Soon-Shiong is the founder and CEO of Culver City-based NantHealth. A representative for Soon-Shiong told the Post he was traveling and unavailable for comment on the report.

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