Koch Brothers No Longer Interested in Buying Tribune Papers

2:53 PM PST 08/22/2013 by Erik Hayden
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The billionaire industrialists had been reported to be looking at acquiring the publishing assets.

The Koch brothers are interested in media, but they aren't looking to be the next owners of the Tribune Co. papers. 

A Koch Industries rep confirms a report by The Daily Caller, the news website founded by writer and cable TV pundit Tucker Carlson, that David and Charles Koch are no longer interested in acquiring the media company's publishing assets.

"Koch continues to have an interest in the media business, and we’re exploring a broad range of opportunities where we think we can add value. In terms of the Tribune, the Daily Caller story is accurate," a spokesperson for Koch Industries said in a statement to THR.

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"Koch Industries, after conducting its due diligence, has not been interested in buying the newspapers for 'a couple months,'" the Caller reported, citing multiple unnamed sources. "The company determined that purchasing the newspapers was 'not economically viable' and that both parties walked away from the negotiations."

Grassroots protests -- including one effort to crowdfund the purchase of the Tribune papers -- have been launched in recent months in an attempt to stop the speculative takeover of the papers by the Koch Brothers. 

The Tribune Co. exited bankruptcy in December of 2012 and the company announced plans to spin off the papers in July. The Tribune stable of papers includes major metropolitan dailies including the Chicago Tribune, Orlando Sentinel and Baltimore Sun along with the Los Angeles Times

In a rare interview published in June, Charles Koch confirmed his interest in acquiring newspapers but said that the properties needed to have sound economics. 

"If we got in the media, it would need to stand on its own and have good economics, create real value and create value for the marketplace, or we wouldn't be interested," he told The Wall Street Journal, adding: "We see it continuing to decline, the print media."

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