Exclusive: Koch Responds to Rumors of Tribune Company Purchase

LA Weekly on Tuesday published a story about a rumored purchase of the Tribune Company by the Koch Brothers.

As you might imagine, this has gotten great attention in the media world:

The latest rumor about the next owner of the L.A. Times, which is for sale, is a doozy. A bombshell. It's a doozy wrapped in a bombshell exploding inside a Drudge siren.

Multiple sources tell L.A. Weekly that Charles and David Koch -- the infamous right-wing billionaire brothers -- are considering an offer on either the Tribune Co. newspaper group, which includes the L.A. Times, the Chicago Tribune and the Baltimore Sun or the entire Tribune Co., which includes more than 20 stations like WGN and KTLA Channel 5.

The author made it clear that "these are unverified rumors that should be taken with a grain of salt if not a whole dollop."

Adding to the intrigue was the Atlantic just an hour ago:

What makes the L.A. Weekly report all the more exciting — if a little far fetched — is the looming giant in the wings: Murdoch has been eyeing the L.A. Times and Chicago Tribune for months now. It's been reported that Murdoch "covets" the Times as a potential addition to his empire of more than 175 newspapers. There were reports of his interest as far back as last June. Then there were dueling reports of Murdochian interest in the Times, in particular, in October: one from the Times itself, and another from Murdoch's Wall Street Journal. This was described by Daily Intel's Joe Coscarelli as "media mogul equivalent of flirting." In December, Murdoch was planning "to take a close look at Tribune Co.'s newspaper assets once they’re available," Bloomberg's Lee reported.

As such, in the Atlantic's view, this could turn into a "bidding war."

Reached for comment via email, Melissa Cohlmia, Director, Corporate Communication, Koch Companies Public Sector, LLC said:

"As an entrepreneurial company with 60,000 employees around the world, we are constantly exploring profitable opportunities in many industries and sectors. So, it is natural that our name would come up in connection with this rumor. We respect the independence of the journalistic institutions referenced in today’s news stories, but it is our long-standing policy not to comment on deals or rumors of deals we may or may not be exploring."

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Noel Sheppard's picture

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