Pair Of L.A. Tycoons Bid On Tribune Co.

Billionaire Ron Burkle and business leader Eli Broad in file photos.
AP Photo/File
Billionaire businessman Eli Broad and supermarket magnate Ron Burkle have teamed up to submit a bid for the Tribune Co., The Associated Press has learned.

Details of the offer by the companies controlled by the two businessmen were not disclosed. A person familiar with the offer but who was not authorized to publicly discuss it confirmed Wednesday the bid had been submitted.

Broad declined to comment on the report. A call to Burkle's office was not immediately returned.

The bid comes one day after Chicago-based Tribune Co. replaced Dean Baquet as editor of the Los Angeles Times because Baquet refused to make mandated cost cuts at the paper.

Broad and Burkle have long said they would be interested in returning the Times to local ownership. A third billionaire, entertainment mogul David Geffen, is known to be interested in buying the Times. A call to Geffen's office Wednesday was not immediately returned.

Tribune Co. spokesman Gary Weitman declined to comment on the bid.

Tribune tried selling the company after being pressured by discontented shareholders and experiencing plunging circulation and a decrease in advertising revenue at its 11 newspapers.

When bids for the mammoth media company came in far lower than expected, Tribune told prospective bidders that individual pieces were available for sale.

Broad, Burkle and Geffen were expected to submit bids for the Times. The joint bid for the entire company came as a surprise.

Tribune's holdings include 11 daily newspapers, 25 TV stations, the Chicago Cubs baseball team, and Internet ventures as well as sizable stakes in the Food Network and the online classified advertising venture CareerBuilder.

Besides the Times and the Chicago Tribune, the company owns newspapers including Newsday in New York, The Baltimore Sun, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Orlando Sentinel and The Hartford Courant.