Why Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong + other billionaires buy print media orgs

Salesforce's founder and co-CEO's recent $190 million offer to buy Time is the latest in a string of billionaires who are coughing up hundreds of thousands of dollars of their own money to buy large-scale print media operations, MarketWatch reports.

A slew of industry moguls have begun setting their sights on the print media space in recent years. Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway acquired 31 daily newspapers in 2011; Amazon CEO, chairman and founder Jeff Bezos bought The Washington Post in 2013. Most recently, billionaire surgeon Patrick Soon-Shiong, MD, completed his $500 million acquisition of the Los Angeles Times in June.

Some experts argue these investors are scooping up print media because they see value in the business when many others do not.

"Billionaires from the tech world see the enduring value of the printed product, even when people in the industry don't," Samir Husni, PhD, director of the Magazine Innovation Center at the University of Mississippi Meek School of Journalism and New Media in University, Miss., told MarketWatch.

However, other experts suggest such moves into the space are done because of the egos and public citizenry complexes of the buyers.

"I think the best of the billionaire media owners — Jeff Bezos … Patrick Soon-Shiong — do it out of a combination of public-spiritedness and ego. Public-spiritedness because they genuinely want to play a role in saving institutions that are important to our democracy. Ego because it raises their public profile, and because they may believe that success they've had in business will translate to figuring out the dilemma of how to make money in journalism," author Dan Kennedy told the publication via email.

Experts suggest many other notable magazines and print publications will be up for sale in the coming years, including Fortune, Sports Illustrated and Money, among others, the report states.

To access the full report, click here.

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