Charles and David Koch are very major players in the Tribune Company's sale of some of the biggest newspapers in the country, including the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune, and according to a new report, they have debated using the media to spread their political message.
The New York Times' Amy Chozick reports that Koch Industries is, in fact, exploring a deal with the Tribune Compnay to buy their package regional of newspapers, including The Los Angeles Times, the Tribune, The Baltimore Sun, The Orlando Sentinel and The Hartford Courant. We first heard about the Kochs potentially buying the papers back in March when L.A. Weekly originally reported their interest.
Of course, they're not the only buyer at the table here. As we've detailed before, Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation has been openly flirting with Tribune Co. for months now about possibly buying the package of papers. The new split-off publishing company will be flush with cash when it launches later this summer, which has led to some speculation they're looking to purchase the papers, and potentially a bidding war with the Kochs. Conflicting reports have said Murdoch is either interested in buying all eight papers, or only the L.A. Times, and Chozick posits Murdoch's interest is only in the Times, for now. A potential strong arm bid from the Koch's could raise his ire and Murdoch's never been one to be bullied around. But Murdoch also has to worry about British phone hacking legal fees which will continue for at least the next two years. On the other side of the political spectrum, there's also the group of primarily Democratic L.A. based investors led by billionaire Eli Broad, L.A. mayoral candidate Austin Beutner, and billionaire Ron Burkle. They've shown interest in buying the L.A. Times, but maybe not the other Tribune papers.