By Ryan Velez
Celebrity Net Worth reports that the Los Angeles Times has a new owner, the first native son of the city to own it in nearly two decades. However, this new owner is no ordinary Angelino: biotech billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong bought the newspaper from its parent company, Chicago-based Tronc, in what many hope will bring some much-needed stability to the 136-year old newspaper. As part of the purchase, Soon-Shiong will also own the San Diego Union-Tribune, and Spanish language newspaper Hoy which cost him $500 million in total.
The deal is expected to close in March or April, and for many, it couldn’t happen soon enough. The paper has had three editors in six months, its publisher was placed on unpaid leave due to a s*xual harassment investigation, and the newsroom employees banded together and voted to unionize. This doesn’t even include the fact that newspapers are facing declining readership in the face of online alternatives. What was a surprise is how quickly it all went down. Tronc had previously rejected two buyers, but it looks Soon-Shiong had the money to put up. Here’s a little more info on the new boss from Celebrity Net Worth:
“Patrick Soon-Shiong was born in South Africa in 1952. He graduated high school at 16, and got his medical degree from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg at the age of 23. He then earned a Master of Science from the University of British Columbia before moving to Los Angeles for surgical training. Soon-Shiong, who now holds over 50 patents, was a member of the UCLA Medical School faculty from 1983 to 1991.
Soon-Shiong left UCLA in 1991 and founded a biotechnology company called Abraxis BioScience. Under Patrick’s leadership, the company eventually developed a revolutionary drug used in the treatment of breast, lung and pancreatic cancers. The drug, Abraxane, was approved by the FDA in 2005 for the treatment of breast cancer when chemotherapy was not working. By 2009, Abraxane had generated $315 million in revenue per year. In 2010 Abraxis BioScience, which was solely owned by Soon-Shiong. In 2010 Soon-Shiong bought Magic Johnson’s stake in the Lakers, making him the largest owner of the NBA team outside of the Buss family.”
This continues the trend of billionaires buying newspapers. Jeff Bezos bought the Washington Post and Red Sox owner John Henry bought the Boston Globe in 2013. In 2014, Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor bought the Minneapolis Star-Tribune and casino mogul Sheldon Adelson bought the Las Vegas Review-Journal.