Report: Koch Brothers Want to Buy Tribune Newspapers

Tuesday, 12 Mar 2013 03:56 PM

By Dan Weil

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The conservative Koch Brothers are interested in buying newspapers owned by Tribune Co., sources tell L.A. Weekly.

They may try to purchase just the company’s newspaper group, which includes the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, and Baltimore Sun, or they may try to buy the entire Tribune Co., which also includes more than 20 TV stations, among them WGN and KTLA in Los Angeles.

The brothers, Charles and David, are tied for fourth on the Forbes 400 list with a net worth of $34 billion each. They have donated tens of millions of dollars to conservative causes and were very active in last year’s elections.

A member of the Los Angeles Times' Editorial Board told L.A. Weekly word has it that the Koch Brothers are helping to finance a bid by Doug Manchester, a conservative real estate developer who bought the San Diego Union Tribune in 2009.

“Now, these are unverified rumors that should be taken with a grain of salt if not a whole dollop,” writes Hillel Aron of L.A. Weekly. The Tribune Co. wouldn't comment on any specific bids.

The only confirmed suitor — for the L.A. Times at least — is Austin Beutner, co-founder of Evercore Partners, a private equity/investment banking firm, and a one-time Los Angeles mayoral candidate.

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