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Eli Broad Interested in L.A. Times

Real estate mogul and philanthropist Eli Broad says he's still interested in purchasing the Los Angeles Times - if the price is right.

Broad came close to buying the paper in 2007 before Sam Zell stepped in and took over the parent Tribune Co. in a $8.2 billion deal. In less than two years after Zell's debt-laden acquisition, the Tribune Co. filed for bankruptcy protection, putting many of its newspaper properties in peril, including the Times, Chicago Tribune and Baltimore Sun.

During a symposium in Manhattan, Broad said he hasn't ruled out using his charitable foundation to buy the L.A. Times, provided that it's in a bankruptcy sale - i.e. could be scooped up for cheap.

"We can't afford to lose good newspaper journalism, investigative reporting," said the 75-year-old billionaire. "I would like to see our foundation and others join together to own the LA Times. (But) I am not sure it can be a national paper, or have the same aspirations it once had."

Broad conceded that he has no answers to the newspaper woes that have put the business on the brink of collapse throughout the nation. He mentioned tying up the Times with the Washington Post - the two papers already form a joint wire-service. But he also said that newspapers may ultimately have to be run as non-profits.

"No one has figured out a good business model as of yet," Broad said. "Newspapers ought to be owned by foundations, not look for great financial returns."