Tronc to sell Los Angeles Times to billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong

Feb 6 (Reuters) - Tronc Inc, the owner of the Los Angeles Times, is expected to announce a sale of the newspaper to billionaire biotech investor Patrick Soon-Shiong, a source familiar with the matter said.

Soon-Shiong, a major shareholder in Tronc and chief executive of NantHealth Inc, will also buy the Times' sister newspaper, the San Diego Union-Tribune, the source said.

Tronc was not immediately available for comment.

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Billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong
Patrick Soon-Shiong, founder and chief executive officer of NantHealth, speaks during the annual Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California, U.S., on Monday, April 27, 2015. The conference brings together hundreds of chief executive officers, senior government officials and leading figures in the global capital markets for discussions on social, political and economic challenges. Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images
LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 25: Will.I.Am (R) and Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong attend a game between the Miami Heat and the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on December 25, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Noel Vasquez/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 17: Minority owner Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong of the Los Angeles Lakers and actress Dyan Cannon pose for a photograph before a game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Staples Center on January 17, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2011 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
SANTA MONICA, CA. OCTOBER 1, 2009. Patrick and Michelle Soon-Shiong greet guests at reception. Bio-medical billionair Patrick Soon-Shiong of Los Angeles announced plans for donation to St. John's Medical Center, October 1, 2009, the latest in his billion effort to build a national medical information grid for doctors and hospitals to share patient information, reduce waste and healthcare costs. The event was held at Saint John's Health Center on Santa Monica Boulevard in Santa Monica. (Photo by Ken Hively/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 19: Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers talks with Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong minority owner of the Los Angeles Lakers during the East & West All-Star Practice on center Court at Jam Session presented by Adidas during NBA All-Star Weekend at the Los Angeles Convention Center on February 19, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2011 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
Patrick Soon-Shiong, founder and chief executive officer of NantHealth, holds a BlackBerry Ltd. mobile device while speaking during the annual Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California, U.S., on Monday, April 27, 2015. The conference brings together hundreds of chief executive officers, senior government officials and leading figures in the global capital markets for discussions on social, political and economic challenges. Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Patrick Soon-Shiong, founder and chief executive officer of NantHealth, holds up the HBox while speaking at a BlackBerry Ltd. press conference during the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., on Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015. BlackBerry Ltd., working to win back investor confidence, unveiled the first part of its plan to compete in the emerging world of Web-connected electronics with a platform that keeps track of shipping containers and vehicles. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 16: (L-R), Muhtar Kent, chairman and CEO of the Coca-Cola Company speaks while flanked by Lowell McAdam, chairman and CEO of Verizon Communications, Patrick Soon-Shiong, chairman and CEO of the Institute for Advanced Health, Mark T. Bertolini chairman and CEO of Aetna, and Brian Moynihan, CEO of the Bank of America Corporation, during a discussion at the Bipartisan Policy Center, September 16, 2014 in Washington, DC. The Bipartisan Policy Center released a report titled Innovative Strategies from America's Business Leaders. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 26: Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, Founder and CEO NantWorks, Leader of the Cancer MoonShot 2020 at Hyatt Regency Boston on October 26, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images for NantHealth, Inc.)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 14: Patrick Soon-Shiong (L) and Chairman of the Berggruen Institute Nicolas Berggruen attend the Berggruen Prize Gala at the New York Public Library on December 14, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Berggruen Institute)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 31: Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong attends a basketball game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Detroit Pistons at Staples Center on October 31, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images)
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The Times, acquired by Tronc's predecessor Tribune Co in 2000, has undergone several management changes and rounds of layoffs, reflecting a struggle by newspapers in general to adapt to digital media.

The newspaper's publisher and CEO, Ross Levinsohn, agreed to take an unpaid leave of absence last month following disclosure of sexual harassment allegations against him while he worked at other companies. 

Tronc acquired the San Diego Union-Tribune in May 2015. Its other newspapers include the Baltimore Sun and the Hartford Courant.

(Reporting by Greg Roumeliotis in New York and Munsif Vengattil in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva)

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