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SA-born billionaire buys Los Angeles Times

Billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong who has bought the Los Angeles Times from Tronc. Image: AFP PHOTO / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / MARK WILSON
Billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong who has bought the Los Angeles Times from Tronc. Image: AFP PHOTO / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / MARK WILSON

A South African-born billionaire surgeon has purchased the Los Angeles Times and a handful of smaller newspaper in the US for R6-billion.

Dr Patrick Soon-Shiong‚ who was born to Chinese parents and studied at the University of the Witwatersrand‚ paid $500-million for the titles and also took on $90-million in pension liabilities from publishing group Tronc.

“We look forward to continuing the great tradition of award-winning journalism carried out by the reporters and editors of the Los Angeles Times‚ The San Diego Union-Tribune and the other California News Group titles‚” said Soon-Shiong in a statement after the acquisition.

In a note to staff at the publications‚ quoted by the Los Angeles Times‚  Soon-Shiong wrote: "It is often said that Southern California is the place where the world comes to see its future.

“It has welcomed generations of immigrants who worked hard‚ started new businesses and helped others do the same. My own family immigrated from southern China to South Africa generations ago. We chose to settle in Los Angeles because this is the place that most felt like home.

"Ultimately‚ this decision is deeply personal for me. As someone who grew up in apartheid South Africa‚ I understand the role that journalism needs to play in a free society."

He has followed in the footsteps of other billionaires who have purchased other newspapers such as the Washington Post.

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