The LA Weekly reports the Koch brothers interest in the Los Angeles Times as a rumor coming from multiple sources including a member of the Times editorial board. It's unknown how much of this is talk being repeated, or just talk, or something real. But consider this: Hillel Aron, the Weekly writer who recently contributed a cover story on possible Times scenarios, and who is the author of today's story on the Koch brothers, said "these are unverified rumors that should be taken with a grain of salt if not a whole dollop."
The Hollywood Reporter's Jordan Zakarin credits Aron but elevates the rumors up to fact: the Koch brothers, says Zakarin without qualification, "are considering a bid for the Los Angeles Times." It's not clear in the story how he knows that. A non-denial by the Koch companies is included. [* Update: THR edited its story a bit and changed the byline to "THR staff."]
Let's go back to Aron in the LA Weekly:
Multiple sources tell L.A. Weekly that Charles and David Koch -- the infamous right-wing billionaire brothers -- are considering an offer on either the Tribune Co. newspaper group, which includes the L.A. Times, the Chicago Tribune and the Baltimore Sun or the entire Tribune Co., which includes more than 20 stations like WGN and KTLA Channel 5....
Two weeks ago, Tribune Co. hired Evercore and JP Morgan as financial advisors to vet potential bidders.
The one definite interested party is Austin Beutner, co-founder of Evercore, former Los Angeles Deputy Mayor and one-time mayoral candidate. He says he's leading a group of well-to-do Angelenos that would buy the L.A. Times and run it as a non-profit.
But word on the street is that Tribune Co. is looking to sell the group of Tribune newspapers as a whole. That would set any buyer back at least $600 million or so -- a sizable chunk of change, even for investment-wiz Beutner.
That kind of money would rule out most mere mortals.
Enter the Koch Brothers.
Part of the speculation is the Koch brothers teaming with Doug Manchester, the new owner who has turned the San Diego Union-Tribune into an arm of his Republican and business-oriented causes, to buy the Times.
LA Observed photo of the LA Times building in Los Angeles