Owner of OC Register Considering Purchase of LA Times

The Los Angeles Times reports its parent Tribune Co. is taking the first steps toward deciding whether to sell the company’s newspapers, hiring investment bankers to review proposals.

Among those interested in one or more of the six dailies is Aaron Kushner, the new owner of the Orange County Register, according to an article posted Wednesday on Poynter.org.

“[W]e believe from our external diligence that each of their markets could potentially have enough of the elements of what we’re looking for to run our particular business model,” Kushner told The Wall Street Journal, according to Poynter.

Kushner’s business model made news this week when Voice of OC reported the Register banned “ads that challenge politicians by name” after Anaheim Councilwomen Kris Murray and Gail Eastman lodged complaints. Both have close ties to Disney, a driving force in Orange County economics and a large advertiser.

Kushner wrote in an email to Voice of OC that the policy was changed because "we don't like negative political advertisements," not because of support for Anaheim's council majority.

Some media practices experts criticized the Register's decision, warning that it gives the appearance the region's dominant news source is inappropriately filtering free speech rights.

The Poynter article noted Kushner tried to buy the Boston Globe before opting for the Register and still is mentioned as a potential owner of the Globe. Kuchner declined to comment when asked whether he would like to buy the Globe, Poynter reported.

In addition to Kushner, another frequently mentioned potential bidder for the Los Angeles Times is Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.

The Los Angeles Times reported that Tribune Co. hired JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Evercore Partners to evaluate whether it should sell the newspaper division, which includes the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune.

Hiring the investment bankers “does not necessarily mean that the assets would be sold,” the Times reported.

Please contact Tracy Wood directly at twood@voiceofoc.org and follow her on Twitter: twitter.com/tracyVOC.

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