Tribune Publishing is not selling off the Los Angeles Times, and Eli Broad is not in talks to buy it, the billionaire philanthropist told PBS Tuesday.
Media mogul Rupert Murdoch, co-chairman of News Corp, set off a wave of speculation in late November about the fate of Tribune Publishing and the LA Times after tweeting he had “strong word” that Tribune would be sold to a group of Wall Street investors while Broad would acquire the Times.
“It was all news to me,” Broad told PBS host Tavis Smiley Tuesday, adding that there was “no deal in the works.”
Broad had, however, expressed interest in buying the publication after Tribune fired LA Times Publisher Austin Beutner in September.
Tribune Publishing CEO Jack Griffin also addressed the rumor at a media conference in Manhattan on Wednesday, as first reported by Politico. Griffin stressed the importance of the Times in the company’s portfolio, in response to a question.
“If you cleaved off California from Tribune publishing, you would essentially have the Chicago Tribune and a bunch of medium-sized East Coast newspapers,” Griffin said. “That is a very different proposition. On a standalone basis, that would be much harder to do. The Los Angeles Times on its own is a tough platform.”
When Murdoch first made his remarks on Nov. 27, Tribune denied that the company was being sold but did not at the time address the speculation about the fate of the Times.
“As our Board of Directors noted earlier this fall and as we articulated in our November earnings call, Tribune Publishing remains committed to its strategy and transformation plan and is not engaged in discussions or a process to sell the Company,” Tribune said in a note to employees.
The LA Times is currently undergoing yet another wave of buyouts, which have claimed more than 80 of its reporters and editors, according to CNN’s Dylan Byers.
Watch Broad's full interview with PBS: