Why Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong invested $70.5 million in Tribune Publishing

Patrick Soon-Shiong, MD, founder of health technology development company NantWorks, appears to be an unlikely candidate to become the second largest shareholder in Tribune Publishing, the company that owns prominent newspapers including The Los Angeles Times and The Chicago Tribune, but that's what happened when he purchased $70.5 million in shares in the company.

Dr. Soon-Shiong is widely known in healthcare for his technological and entrepreneurial work with NantWorks, the parent company of more granular units, including NantHealth, NantMobile, NantBioscience and NantOmics, all of which seek to combine science, technology and communication to enhance healthcare and disease treatment.

He also is a part owner of the Los Angeles Lakers, an NBA team.

In his new role with Tribune Publishing, which includes serving as vice chairman of the board, Dr. Soon-Shiong wants to help preserve newspapers, which he considers a public trust, reports The New York Times.

"I recognize the press is a very valuable tool for the community, where it really adds to democracy," Dr. Soon-Shiong told NYT in an interview.

He also has ideas for how to further capitalize on his investment, suggesting Tribune Publishing transition from a newspaper company into a technology and content company, according to the report.

As part of the investment deal between Dr. Soon-Shiong and Tribune Publishing, the newspaper company will have access to technology Dr. Soon-Shiong's companies are developing, including machine vision and artificial intelligence technology, to use in news media applications. For example, Dr. Soon-Shiong told NYT somebody could point a phone camera at a newspaper article, and the phone would present a video with related content.

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