Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. is denying reports that it’s trying to purchase the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune – reports that ran in those papers themselves.

“Reports that News Corp. is in discussions with Tribune or the L.A. Times are wholly inaccurate,” Julie Henderson, a spokeswoman for the company, told Bloomberg News in an email.

The Los Angeles Times and Reuters reported last week that News Corp. executives were in early negotiations with the bankrupt Tribune Co.’s debt holders, who include Los Angeles-based Oaktree Capital Management. They will gain control of the Chicago-based company, which owns both big papers among many others, after court supervision ends. Reuters corrected its story, saying its source retracted the information.

Nancy Sullivan, a spokeswoman for the L.A. Times, didn’t immediately respond to phone and e-mailed requests for comment placed outside of business hours, Bloomberg said. Oaktree declined to comment.

News Corp. is preparing to separate its entertainment and publishing businesses. It was forced to write down its $5.2 billion 2007 acquisition of Dow Jones & Co., owner of The Wall Street Journal, and investors have gone sour on the troubled newspaper business.

Murdoch, an 81-year-old lifelong newspaperman still devoted to print, has expressed interest in the L.A. Times in the past. He may go shopping for distressed newspapers once News Corp.’s split becomes final next year, one person with knowledge of the matter, who wasn’t authorized to speak publicly, told Bloomberg. No News Corp. executives have reviewed any internal Tribune financial information, said a person with knowledge of the matter.