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February 8, 2018

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Newspapers sold to raise digital sphere

TRONC Inc said yesterday it would sell the Los Angeles Times, the San Diego Union-Tribune and some other newspapers to billionaire investor Patrick Soon-Shiong for US$500 million in cash.

Tronc expects to use the cash proceeds from the deal to boost its digital businesses by increasing investments and acquisitions.

“This transaction allows us to fully repay our outstanding debt, significantly lower our pension liabilities and have a substantial cash position following the close of the transaction,” Tronc Chief Executive Justin Dearborn said in a statement.

Tribune Interactive will become the home to Tronc’s digital assets and will be led by Ross Levinsohn, former publisher and chief executive of the Los Angeles Times.

Levinsohn took an unpaid leave of absence last month following disclosure of sexual harassment allegations against him while he worked at other companies. Tronc said an independent investigation did not find any wrongdoing.

Soon-Shiong, a major shareholder in Tronc and chief executive of NantHealth Inc, will buy the publications through his private investment vehicle Nant Capital LLC.

Nant Capital will also assume US$90 million in pension liabilities as part of the deal, set to close in late first quarter or early second quarter of 2018.


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