Billionaires Seek to Be Media Tycoons With Big-Name Newspapers

Move over Citizen Kane. Billionaires who want to play media tycoon are snapping up big names in the newspaper industry.

You’d think anyone who made a fortune in another field would avoid the slow-growth newspaper industry. But buying into the sector gives the high-rolling investors editorial control and a platform for their views. There’s also the lure of the Internet.

Deep-pocketed buyers in the newspaper industry include:

Real estate mogul Sam Zell recently shelled out $8.2 billion to buy the nation’s second-largest newspaper chain, the Tribune Company. He snapped up 11 newspapers, including the Chicago Tribune, 23 TV stations and key Internet businesses. He outbid fellow billionaires Eli Broad and Ron Burkle.

Bruce Toll, part of the country’s largest luxury home builder, paid $500 million for the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Philadelphia Daily News.

Of course, there’s media tycoon Rupert Murdoch who has offered $60 a share to buy Dow Jones and its flagship publication, The Wall Street Journal.

The Wall Street Journal has a subscription-only Web site, a rarity on the Internet, so it’s clear Murdoch knows his stuff. Rosebud anyone?