Los Angeles Times newspaper is sold to billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong

The 136-year-old paper has been bought from its parent company, Tronc

Los Angeles Times newspaper is sold to billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong

In this May 2016 file photo, pedestrians look at news photos posted outside the Los Angeles Times building in downtown Los Angeles | Image: Richard Vogel/AP/Press Association Images

The Los Angeles Times has been bought by billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong from its parent company Tronc.

Chicago-based Tronc announced the sale of The Times and the San Diego Union-Tribune to Soon-Shiong's investment firm Nant Capital for nearly US$500m (€406m) in cash.

The deal also includes some US$90m (€73m) in pension liabilities, the paper said.

Mr Soon-Shiong said: "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".

The sale is expected to close in April.

"We are pleased to transition leadership of the Los Angeles Times and the San Diego Union-Tribune to local ownership, and we are certain that the journalistic excellence in Southern California will continue long into the future," CEO of Tronc, Justin Dearborn, said in a statement.

"This transaction allows us to fully repay our outstanding debt, significantly lower our pension liabilities and have a substantial cash position following the close of the transaction.

"We will have a versatile balance sheet that will enable us to be even more aggressive in executing on our growth strategy as a leading player in news and digital media."

Dr Patrick Soon-Shiong at Nant headquarters in 2017 | Image: Ringo Chiu/Zuma Press/PA Images

In a piece announcing the sale on its website, the paper added that it "has long had a strained relationship with its Chicago-based corporate parent."

The 136-year-old paper has seen a particularly stormy period lately.

It has seen three editors in six months, its publisher placed on unpaid leave amid a sexual harassment investigation, and a vote to unionise the newsroom.

Soon-Shiong was born in South Africa to Chinese immigrants and is America's richest doctor, according to Forbes.

It estimates his wealth at US$7.8bn (€6.3bn).

He sold drug companies Abraxis and American Pharmaceutical Partners, and owns NantWorks - a network of health startups.

He also has stakes in media firm Tronc and the Los Angeles Lakers.