Biotech billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong swoops on Los Angeles Times

Biotech billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong swoops on Los Angeles Times

Patrick Soon-Shiong, a biotech billionaire who amassed a fortune from developing a new cancer drug, is set to apportion some of his vast wealth to the purchase of the Los Angeles Times and the San Diego Union-Tribune according to reports in the Financial Times.

Already a major shareholder in publisher Tronc, Soon-Shiong is reportedly ready to part with $500m to purchase both titles outright, potentially restoring some stability to the former which has been beset by collapsing circulation and advertising revenues, compounded by a faltering digital arm.

Against this unpromising backdrop the LA Times last month lost its editor in chief while publisher and chief executive Ross Levinsohn was placed on leave following allegations of past inappropriate behaviour.

Soon-Shiong has been engaged in a battle for control of Tronc with fellow investor Michael Ferro, the pair currently own 26 and 27% of the business respectively.

Since 1999 nine publishers have come and gone at the LA Times, overseeing a decline in newsroom staff from 1,000 to 400 over that period.

In 2015 the paper saw its website taken over by hacking collective Anonymous after a disgruntled reporter passed on log-in details.

Get The Drum Newsletter

Build your marketing knowledge by choosing from daily news bulletins or a weekly special.