Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Is the L.A. Times a Charity Case? Yes, and I’ll Take It On, Says Billionaire Eli Broad.

eli-broadOne 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.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik