Rupert Murdoch’s love for newspapers shows no signs of going away. The News Corporation chairman and chief executive is reported to be in talks to by the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune from Tribune Company, which is due to emerge from bankruptcy shortly.
A report in the La Times says News Corp executives have held preliminary talks with Tribune’s debt holders, which will become majority owners of the company after it exits bankruptcy. This could happen by year’s end.
Quoting News Corp executives and others familiar with the situation the paper said a deal is by no means certain and that other potential buyers have expressed interest.
If a deal does go ahead it will cement existing ties between News Corp and Tribune Co. Copies of Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal are printed on presses at both the Chicago Tribune and the LA Times, which became the latest newspaper to put up a paywall earlier this year.
The potential acquisition is being seen as a bid to bulk up the publishing business of News Corp ahead of its split into two businesses: entertainment and publishing. The split was announced back in June.
“Acquiring the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune would give him strong footholds in the nation’s three largest media markets: New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.
“Murdoch’s lieutenants say he has long wanted to buy The Times. On trips to Los Angeles, he is known to mark up the newspaper with a Sharpie pen to illustrate how he would design pages.
“News Corp. and Tribune Co. have existing business ties. Tribune owns 23 television stations, including nine that carry the programming of News Corp.’s two broadcast networks. Tribune stations in San Diego, Sacramento and five other markets are Fox network affiliates, the LA Times reported.
However, any bid for the Tribune-owned papers could run foul of US regulators.