Is the L.A. Times a Charity Case? Yes, and I’ll Take It On, Says Billionaire Eli Broad.
One frequently floated solution to the newspaper industry’s woes: Find sugar daddies who are willing to fund them via an act of charity.
But who’s going to pony up? I will, says Eli Broad.
The Los Angeles billionaire, who made his money in the home-building and insurance businesses, thought about buying his hometown Los Angeles Times a couple of years ago. But Sam Zell ended up taking the paper as part of his ill-fated Tribune Co. purchase in 2007.
Now that Tribune is in Chapter 11, Broad could pick it up at a substantial discount.
“Eli Broad, a wealthy philanthropist who once looked at buying the Los Angeles Times, is still interested in a foray into the newspaper business, he told a gathering in New York on Monday night.
‘We can’t afford to lose good newspaper journalism, investigative reporting,’ the 75-year old retired business maven said during a lecture on business in philanthropy at the 92nd Street Y in Manhattan.
Broad, jokingly, said: ‘I’ve regained my sanity since then,’ referring to his earlier interest. But turning more serious, he added: ‘I would like to see our foundation and others join together to own the L.A. Times.’”
Forbes pegged Broad’s net worth at $6.7 billion back in September, so even if he’s been pole-axed since then, he’ll still be able to buy the paper without breaking a sweat.
But unless Broad is going to convince his fellow gazillionaires to adopt papers throughout the country, this strategy won’t let the industry off the hook.