Billionaire investor and philanthropist Eli Broad is joining in financier Austin Beutner's proposal to buy the Los Angeles Times and run the newspaper as a non-profit, the Hollywood Reporter says tonight based on sources. Broad would join the board of directors if the bid is successful, while Beutner would be in charge of the newspaper, says THR. While Beutner and Broad would prefer only to acquire the Times, they would be open to taking the other Tribune newspapers that are for sale, then selling them off, according to the story.
There's no on-the-record confirmation in the story, but Broad spokeswoman Karen Denne does say, "Mr. Broad has always believed in local ownership of the Times and would be interested in joining with others to buy the paper. Broad was part of a 2007 attempt with supermarket magnate Ron Burkle to buy Tribune before the company went to Sam Zell.
Earlier in the week, rumors surfaced that brothers Charles and David Koch are kicking the tires on a possible acquisition of the Times and possibly the other Tribune newspapers. Doesn't make a lot of sense for such savvy investors, Mark Lacter observes, but it also might be true.