Five years after his partnership lost a bid to buy Tribune Co.and the Los Angeles Times, billionaire businessman Eli Broad said he remains interested in joining with others to restore local ownership to The Times.
The issue arose this week with the pending release of Broad’s book, “The Art of Being Unreasonable: Lessons in Unconventional Thinking,” in which the onetime home builder and investment services magnate speculates that the newspaper will be sold after the resolution of the bankruptcy of its owner, Tribune.
The media company, which also owns the Chicago Tribune, other newspapers and television stations, has been in Chapter 11 bankruptcy for more than three years. Current management hopes a judge will approve its reorganization plan this year.
Broad speculates that creditors who will control the company are “likely” to put The Times up for sale. “This time around,” the book says, “the price should be better and the advantages of local ownership clear to all.”
Broad said in an interview that he would like to “partner with others … maybe foundations or wealthy families” to take control of the newspaper. He said he has spoken to others about such an arrangement, but declined to name them.
Broad and onetime supermarket mogul Ron Burkle joined together in an attempt to purchase Tribune Co. in 2007, but they were beaten out by an $8.2-billion bid from Sam Zell, a Chicago-based real estate investor. The debt-heavy deal soon fell into financial trouble.
Broad has been a force in fundraising for many civic projects. Other moves that would have expanded his role in Los Angeles — for ownership of the Dodgers and to attract an NFL team to the city — fell short.