San Diego Union-Tribune may be sold to health-care billionaire

Copies of the San Diego Union-Tribune are shown on display at a newsstand March 18, 2009 in San Diego, California. Privately held Copley Press announced today it had agreed to sell the Union-Tribune, whose circulation in 2008 was reported at 300,000 on weekdays, to private equity firm Platinum Equity for an undisclosed sum. (Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images)

SAN DIEGO — The San Diego Union-Tribune could soon have a new owner, with a report Tuesday that Chicago-based Tronc plans to sell the paper to health-care billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong.

Citing people familiar with the plan, The Washington Post reported that Tronc is working to sell Soon-Shiong the paper it has owned since 2015 as part of a broader deal that will include the sale of the Los Angeles Times. Tronc, previously known as Tribune Co., purchased The Times in 2000.

The Times’ newsroom has been in turmoil in recent weeks. A new editor, Jim Kirk, was named in late January following rising concern by staffers over the direction of newsroom management and concerns about the blurring of the line between the news and business departments. Kirk replaced Lewis D’Vorkin, who was moved to the position of chief content for digital and mobile customers.

The paper’s publisher, Ross Levinsohn, was placed on unpaid leave following revelations he was a defendant in two sexual harassment suits while working at other companies prior to joining The Times.

Most notably, newsroom staffers voted overwhelmingly last month to unionize for the first time in the paper’s 136-year history.

Soon-Shiong is the founder and CEO of Culver City-based NantHealth. A representative for Soon-Shiong told The Post he was traveling and unavailable for comment on the report.