The idea that Koch Industries, where Charles is chairman and chief executive and David is an executive vice president, would acquire Tribune’s newspapers was floated about six months ago.
At the time, the notion sparked a firestorm of opposition among liberal advocacy groups, who feared the conservative billionaires would be a threat to Democratic Party issues and independent journalism.
According to The New York Times, a spokesman for the Koch brothers confirmed a report by the conservative news website The Daily Caller that said Koch Industries had determined that the acquisition was “not economically viable,” but she left the door open to other purchases in the media industry.
“Koch continues to have an interest in the media business, and we’re exploring a broad range of opportunities where we think we can add value,” the spokeswoman said in a statement, the Times reported.
The Daily Caller reported that the Koch brothers' interest in the acquisition faded “a couple months ago.”
Charles Koch expressed reluctance to wade into the newspaper business in a July interview with the Wichita Eagle, the local paper in the city where Koch Industries is based.
“There are tremendous changes going on in media, in taking media as a whole, all forms of communication,” Koch told the paper.
“We’re back at square one analyzing where is the most change, where are the best opportunities for new entrants to come in and add value. And so newspapers are one, but there are all sorts of others. There’s the Internet, there’s TV, there’s entertainment, and so we don’t know where we’ll end up on that.”