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Geffen offers $2 billion for L.A. Times

Tribune reviewing bids for entire corporation before considering offer

David Geffen has officially entered the Los Angeles Times derby, offering the Tribune Co. $2 billion in cash to buy the newspaper.

Geffen’s personal wealth is estimated at $4.6 billion.

However, Tribune is reportedly first reviewing bids for the entire corporation before considering Geffen’s offer for its largest asset, submitted in November.

Geffen joins an increasingly crowded field of suitors for Tribune and its properties. Eli Broad and Ron Burkle earlier submitted a bid for the entire company, which includes newspapers, TV stations and the Chicago Cubs.

The Chandler family, founders of the Times and Tribune’s largest shareholder after it merged with Times Mirror, also is pursuing a bid to buy the company.

Others in the hunt include several equity firms and Gannett Co., but observers on Wall Street believe the Tribune board is unsatisfied with the prices offered.

When Tribune opened the door to bids for its individual assets, analysts interpreted it as a ploy to boost the pricetag on the entire company.

The sale process at Tribune has led to turmoil in the Times newsroom. Editor Jim O’Shea, who replaced Dean Baquet, declined to move his family from Chicago when he took the post, citing the likelihood that the paper would change ownership in the near future.