The L.A. Times has been looking for a new owner for months now but no suitor has impressed the Tribune Company enough to execute a sale. The latest person to throw a hat in the ring is local billionaire investor, Mark Walter, who just so happens to be the owner of the L.A. Dodgers. Walter told the Times Friday evening that "the Los Angeles Times says something," and "if the price were right, I would buy it." Walter also expressed interest in buying the Chicago Tribune, another of the Tribune Co. newspapers, which include the Los Angeles Times, TheBaltimore Sun, that the company was hoping to unload at different points over the last year.
No one is certain how Walter would purchase the paper, whether it be as part of a private group, through the investment fund he heads, or as a solo buyer. (Walter is the Guggenheim Partners' chief executive -- the group recently attempted to buy the streaming service Hulu.) This news is coming suspiciously quickly on the heels of the Koch brothers pulling out of the race to purchase the papers. A potential sale to the Kochs was widely protested by Times staff and devotees. For their part, the Tribune Company spun the papers off into a separate business -- away from their successful television channels -- and announced a sale was off at the beginning of July.
A potential Walter sale is not an original idea in the slightest. The "local baseball team owner swoops in to buy struggling local paper" narrative was already done on the opposite side of the country, in Massachusetts, at the beginning of August. Boston Red Sox owner John Henry purchased the Boston Globe after the paper did an extended stint on the market. Then Henry had to deflect criticism he might influence the way the Globe's heralded sports page cover his beloved Red Sox. Walter would almost certainly face the same fate.
After speaking with the Times, Walter walked into Dodger Stadium to watch his red hot boys in blue take on a team that travelled across the country, all the way from Massachusetts, for the game: the Boston Red Sox.