Eli Broad interviewed by Tavis Smiley
  • Eli Broad interviewed by Tavis Smiley
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To buy or not to buy.

That was the question still pursuing Eli Broad as he issued a denial of media mogul Rupert Murdoch's tweet that Broad wants to take over the L.A. Times, and possibly along with it the San Diego's Union-Tribune.

Tavis Smiley

Tavis Smiley

"It was all news to me," Broad told PBS talk-show host Tavis Smiley in a video clip posted December 8 on YouTube.

Prodded Smiley: "No truth to this?"

Replied Broad, "Not that I'm aware of... No truth to it as far as I know."

"What do you mean as far as you know?" countered Smiley. "You're Eli Broad, you would know if there were truth to it."

Responded the billionaire Democrat: "I don't know of anything going on. I've made inquiries. I'm not aware of anything going on, nor other people at Chicago Tribune Company."

Broad — who in September signed a petition of L.A. big-business types attacking the firing of Broad's onetime associate Austin Beutner as publisher of the Times and Union-Tribune — doesn't seem to have given up on a change of the papers' ownership.

"I believe local ownership would be a great thing for the Los Angeles Times and the people of Los Angeles and Southern California, because we would want to invest in the future of the paper, and not just keep cutting the newsroom staff."

Whether Broad was using the editorial "we" was not pursued.

The organizer of the ownership change proclamations from the L.A. business and political community has been Dan Schnur, an ex–Pete Wilson aide with ties to Broad and his controversial charter-school movement.

Asked Smiley of Broad, "So at this point there's no deal in the works?"

Replied Broad: "There's no deal in the works."

Video:

Smiley interview with Broad

Broad's cat-and-mouse encounter with Smiley is unlikely to slake the growing thirst of some Angeleno and San Diego political and business interests for a Broad role in seizing control of the two Southern California papers — even given the repeated pronouncements of their current owner, Chicago-based Tribune Publishing, that they are not for sale.

Ken Doctor

Ken Doctor

Despite Broad's denial of the Murdoch report, multiple sources, including media columnist Ken Doctor, have reported that Broad has been avidly pursuing a way to take over the papers, thus far with no success.

"Given that the parties haven’t been negotiating, the odds on a Tribune Publishing agreement to sell are tough to gauge," Doctor wrote November 27 about a scheme for Apollo Global Management to buy Tribune and spin off the California papers to a group of investors headed by Broad.

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Comments

Visduh Dec. 8, 2015 @ 4:41 p.m.

Use of the "editorial 'we'" probably isn't the case here. In Broad's mind, it was definitely the royal "we." He's very accustomed to being surrounded by courtiers and other boot-lickers.

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monaghan Dec. 8, 2015 @ 6:04 p.m.

At what point do we quit speculating and just accept that any "deal" may be non-existent, preliminary or impossible to call because of financial complexities and the hard-ball principals, Eli Broad and Tribune Company? This is getting old.

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