Los Angeles investor Eli Broad is bidding again for the — this time with financier and former deputy L.A. mayor Austin Beutner, sources tell .
Broad, whose estimated worth is north of $6 billion, has teamed with Beutner, an investment banker. The pair are primarily interested in the Times, though they would consider purchasing the block of Tribune Co. newspapers — including the , the , and the — and then sell off the excess titles, sources say.
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Beutner and Broad would like to reconfigure the into a nonprofit, which Beutner would run while Broad joins its board of governors, sources tell .
"Mr. Broad has always believed in local ownership of the Times and would be interested in joining with others to buy the paper," Karen Denne, a spokeswoman for Broad, tells .
Some parties have already expressed interest in Tribune’s individual newspaper titles. Wrapports Media, which owns the , has indicated interest in bidding for the cross-town rival . Newspaper-buying investor Warren Buffett, who told shareholders in a letter that he spent $344 million to buy 28 newspapers in the last 15 months, has said he’d like to look at Tribune’s Allentown (Pa.) newspaper, .
Broad joined supermarket magnate Ron Burkle in a bid for the Tribune Co. before its 2007 sale to Sam Zell, but was outbid.
Broad and Beutner offer a stark contrast to David and Charles Koch, who also may have already bid for Tribune’s newspaper assets. The Kochs are among the best-known donors to conservative and libertarian causes, while Broad and Beutner have primarily opened their wallets to Democrats.
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A spokeswoman for Koch Companies Public Sector, LLC told last week that, “As an entrepreneurial company with 60,000 employees around the world, we are constantly exploring profitable opportunities in many industries and sectors. So, it is natural that our name would come up in connection with this rumor. We respect the independence of the journalistic institutions referenced in today’s news stories, but it is our long-standing policy not to comment on deals or rumors of deals we may or may not be exploring. "
Tribune recently emerged from bankruptcy and it named TV industry veteran Peter Liguori its CEO. Several Hollywood figures sit on its board of directors, including Ross Levinsohn, CEO of Guggenheim Digital Media, parent company of .
Tribune confirmed last month that it was seeking a buyer for its newspaper business in order to focus on its TV and online assets.