Earlier this week we reported that there could be a bidding war shaping for Tribune Company newspapers, particularly the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune, between the Koch brothers and Rupert Murdoch. But now the Hollywood Reporter is reporting that another moneyed influencer, this time from the other side of the aisle, is looking to get in on the newspaper game.
THR's Paul Bond reports that billionaire Eli Broad, who is known for buoying Los Angeles cultural institutions, has joined up with Austin Beutner, a financier and former deputy mayor, to bid for the Times and possibly other Tribune Company newspapers—or all of them. Broad and Beutner, unlike the Koch brothers and Murdoch, are noted Democratic donors. Both Broad and Koch share the trait of having counterintuitively pronounced names. (Broad rhymes with "code." Koch is "coke.")
Bond points out that Broad has wanted in on the action before before, trying to get the Tribune Company with Ron Burkle in 2007. But then Sam Zell got ahold of it. The prospect of Broad jumping into the race for the Times came up this past May when it was learned he speculated about the Tribune Company's fate in his book The Art of Being Unreasonable: Lessons in Unconventional Thinking. For Broad, getting ahold of the Times would expand his already expansive influence in Los Angeles even more. In a 2010 New Yorker profile Connie Bruck called Broad the "Lorenzo de' Medici of Los Angeles—the city's singular patron, especially of the arts."
Of course, if the Koch brothers and Murdoch are already jostling for the paper, Broad may not get the chance to control this aspect of the city. The fight for Tribune papers, however, should be exciting.