Wednesday, 26 January, 2022
HomeWeekly RoundupSA-born doctor and billionaire buys Los Angeles Times

SA-born doctor and billionaire buys Los Angeles Times

South African-born media entrepreneur, doctor and billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong has signed, what is reportedly, a close to $500m (R6bn) deal with Tronc Inc to take over the Los Angeles Times. iAfrica Business reports that the physician’s investment company NantWorks is set to pay the $500m and is expected to assume $90m in pension liabilities.

The report says Soon-Shiong is reportedly one of the wealthiest men in Los Angeles and is, according to Forbes, the richest doctor in the world with an estimated net worth of $7.8bn (close to R95bn).

Tronc Inc, a Chicago-based publishing group and LA Times’s parent company, announced that the publishing group had signed a deal with the biotech investor, which will also include handing over the reins for the San Diego Union-Tribune and the other California News Group titles.

Many have welcomed the deal but, the report says, despite renewed optimism, some question what the power handover will mean for the editorial independence considering Soon-Shiong has fingers in a number of pies in the pharmaceutical and biotech world.

Within the healthcare industry, Soon-Shiong is a controversial figure, the report says. An initiative launched by Soon-Shiong to eradicate cancer by 2020 has been dubbed "an elaborate marketing tool" for his company by STAT News.

Soon-Shiong has issued a statement saying: "We look forward to continuing the great tradition of award-winning journalism carried out by the reporters and editors of the Los Angeles Times, The San Diego Union-Tribune and the other California News Group titles."

The 65-year-old was born in Port Elizabeth in South Africa in 1952, matriculated at the age of 16 and completed his medical studies at the University of Witwatersrand when he was 22 years old.


Soon-Shiong is quoted in a Los Angeles Times report as saying: "It is often said that Southern California is the place where the world comes to see its future. It has welcomed generations of immigrants who worked hard, started new businesses and helped others do the same. My own family immigrated from southern China to South Africa generations ago. We chose to settle in Los Angeles because this is the place that most felt like home.

"Ultimately, this decision is deeply personal for me. As someone who grew up in apartheid South Africa, I understand the role that journalism needs to play in a free society," Soon-Shiong said.

[link url=""]iAfrica Business report[/link]
[link url=""]Los Angeles Times report[/link]

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