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News Link • Business/ Commerce

Billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong close to deal to buy the L.A. Times and San Diego Union-Tribune

• latimes.com by Meg James

The nearly $500-million cash deal, if consummated, would return The Times to local ownership after 18 years and end a tumultuous relationship with its corporate parent in Chicago. A sale also would represent a major strategy shift for Tronc, which has said that better promoting the Los Angeles Times brand and journalism was a key to its corporate growth.

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A deal had not been reached Tuesday afternoon, though both sides were working furiously to complete the transaction and an announcement could come as early as Wednesday, said those sources, who were not authorized to speak about the negotiations publicly and requested anonymity. The sources cautioned that the deal could fall apart at the last minute. Tronc and Soon-Shiong declined to comment.

Tronc is expected to use the $500 million in proceeds to pay down company debt, make other acquisitions and further its digital strategy across the remaining papers, which include the Chicago Tribune, Orlando Sentinel, South Florida Sun-Sentinel and Baltimore Sun.

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