Rupert Murdoch? (“[His] people are out there doing their due diligence,” says Ken Doctor.)
Aaron Kushner? (A skeptical alt-weekly editor says: “The minute he stops making money, he stops his model railroad.”)
David Geffen, who once eyed the Los Angeles Times, now says that “I have no interest… I simply do not want to talk about it.”
One man who will talk about his interest in the paper is Evercore Partners founder Austin Beutner, who is teaming up with weathly Angelenos to make an offer and run the Times as a nonprofit. “I’d love to see it restored to its prior stature in terms of it being a voice of civic consciousness,” he tells Hillel Aron. “And I think the best ownership for that voice is local.”
Beutner won’t say who is in his group. Rumors seem to suggest that [Eli] Broad and former Mayor Richard Riordan are involved, and possibly even mega-billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong.
“I think we have the resources to pay an appropriate amount,” Beutner says. “I’m not being coy; we haven’t seen the books and records yet. … We’d definitely be prepared to move quickly.” It probably can’t hurt that Beutner in 1996 co-founded Evercore — the very investment bank hired by Tribune this week to vet prospective buyers.
Aron says it makes sense that Soon-Shiong — “the richest man in Los Angeles and a brilliant doctor” — is part of the investors group because “clearly he wants to own something civic — and big — in L.A.”
Also, the reporter notes, Soon-Shiong’s daughter Nika interned at the Times last summer, which she notes on her Facebook page.
UPDATE — Who does Aron predict will get the Times? I asked and he replied: “I think if there were Vegas odds for this sort of thing, the strong favorite would be ‘Some guy you’ve never heard of.’ Seems like most of these big newspapers get sold to some dark horse billionaire.”