Zell: LA Times Not For Sale

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) – Chicago real estate magnate and Tribune Co. owner Sam Zell said Tuesday he had no plans to sell the Los Angeles Times to any of the moguls who previously expressed an interest in buying the newspaper.

“I said it to Eli Broad. I said it to Ron Burkle. I said it to David Geffen, and I'm saying it to you,” Zell said at a conference on corporate growth.

He then quipped: “Now, if you have a price, we can talk.”

The remark brought laughter from the standing-room-only crowd at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.

Zell, 65, led an $8.2 billion buyout of Tribune Co. in April. The media company owns 11 daily newspapers, including the Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times, 23 television stations and the Chicago Cubs baseball team.

Zell's colorful talk on the workings of mergers and acquisitions included several expletives and a joke involving a male body part.

During a brief question and answer session, he predicted the residential housing market would begin stabilizing next year but the economy would tumble into a recession in 2009.

Zell, the chairman of Equity Group Investments, also fielded questions about the Los Angeles newspaper and his intent to sell the Chicago Cubs.

Among others, Mark Cuban, the billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team, has expressed a strong interest in owning the Cubs.

Asked about a possible deal with Cuban, Zell said, “I have no idea who is going to end up with the Cubs, but it ain't gonna be me.”