Billionaire's remarks revive talk of Times sale

Is Eli Broad back in the hunt for the Los Angeles Times?

The billionaire philanthropist stirred speculation to that effect with comments Monday night in a lecture he gave on business and philanthropy in Gotham.

Broad told the aud at Manhattan’s 92nd Street Y that he would like to see his Broad Foundation team up with other nonprofit orgs to own the newspaper and allow it to operate with a focus on editorial excellence, rather than profit margins.

“Newspapers ought to be owned by foundations, not look for great financial returns,” Broad said, according to a Reuters report. “If several foundations are involved there is likely to be journalistic freedom.”

Two years ago, Broad and fellow L.A.-based billionaire Ron Burkle teamed up in a bid to buy the Times’ parent company, Tribune Co. The two were outbid by Chicago-based real estate magnate Sam Zell, whose debt-laden takeover deal forced Tribune to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in December.

The bankruptcy proceedings, through which Tribune needs to restructure some $13 billion in debt, have spurred rumors that the L.A. Times might be on the auction block again soon.

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