Dodgers Owner Mark Walter Interested In Buying 'L.A. Times'
Dodgers owner Mark Walter is interested in buying the city's hometown paper, The Los Angeles Times.
"The Los Angeles Times says something," the Guggenheim Partners CEO told Times reporter Bill Shaikin on Friday. "It means something. It's a brand. I think people have undervalued that. If the price were right, I would buy it."
Walter declined to comment to the Los Angeles Times on whether he had taken any action toward a deal. He also confirmed interest in The Chicago Tribune and pledged that if any acquisition did occur he wouldn't inhibit coverage of the baseball team. "I can't tell you what to write," he told Shaikin.
Along with the Dodgers, Guggenheim Partners counts among its assets Dick Clark Productions and Guggenheim Digital Media, the parent company of The Hollywood Reporter, Billboard and Adweek.
The Tribune Co. exited bankruptcy in December of 2012 and under the leadership of new CEO Peter Liguori it has positioned itself as a broadcast-oriented company that has aggressively acquired local TV stations.
In July, Tribune announced plans to spin off its publishing assets into a separate holding company that would house metropolitan papers like the Times, Tribune, The Baltimore Sun, Orlando Sentinel, Hartford Courant and The Morning Call.
However, Tribune's stakes in classified businesses, including Classified Ventures and CareerBuilder, were not included with the papers in the spin-off plans. The publishing assets are also planned to be separated from Tribune Co.'s real estate holdings, including the Times building in downtown Los Angeles and the Tribune Tower in Chicago.
As the company shifts its focus, numerous suitors have signaled interest in acquiring The Los Angeles Times.
Real estate developer Doug Manchester, who purchased the San Diego Union Tribune and renamed it the U-T San Diego, has publicly stated his interest. Aaron Kushner, who bought the OC Register and doubled down on a print-focused strategy with the launch of a new paper, the Long Beach Register, has also stated that he'd like to buy the Times. News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch has also expressed interest, although in reports he also conveyed skepticism about a purchase.
Billionaire Eli Broad partnered with former deputy mayor Austin Beutner to bid for the Times, THR reported in March. Two names not currently on the list of suitors: billionaire industrialists David and Charles Koch, who confirmed in a Koch Industries statement last week a Daily Caller report that they were no longer interested in acquiring Tribune papers.
Walter's comments arrive as two iconic papers, The Boston Globe and The Washington Post, recently have changed hands. Earlier this month, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos made a surprise bid for the Post, acquiring it for $250 million in cash. Days earlier, The New York Times Company sold the Globe to Red Sox owner John Henry for $70 million. The Times had acquired the New England paper for $1.1 billion in 1993 from the Taylor family.