A biotech billionaire from Los Angeles, Patrick Soon-Shiong, is close to make a deal to buy Los Angeles Times and the San Diego Union-Tribune from their owner, Tronc, as stated by two people familiar with the negotiations.

According to a report by Los Angeles Times, if the $500 million cash deal goes through, then Los Angeles Times would return to a local ownership after a period of 18 years, which would also see the end of a turbulent relationship with the Chicago-based parent company. It would also mean a big shift in the strategy for Tronc, which stated that better promotion for Los Angeles Times brand and journalism was essential to its corporate growth.

The report further stated the deal was not struck Tuesday afternoon although both the involved parties were trying hard to finish the transaction so that an announcement could come early Wednesday, according to the sources who requested anonymity as they weren’t allowed to speak about the negotiations publicly.

But, the sources also stated that the deal had the potential to break at any time.

Soon-Shiong was born in 1952 in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, to immigrant parents who fled from China during the Second World War. Soon-Shiong graduated from high school at the age of 16 and got accepted to the medical school at University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.

In 1977, he accepted an offer for a surgery residency at Vancouver General Hospital at the University of British Columbia, where he earned his Masters degree in 1978.

In 1980, due to his exceptional surgery skills, he was given an offer from University of California (UCLA) Medical School where he completed his training which won him a board-certification as a surgeon.

According to a report by Forbes, the 65-year-old is the richest doctor in the United States. Soon-Shiong is also the second-largest shareholder of Tronc and his net worth is $7.8 billion.

His biotech startup, named NantHealth, went public in 2016 while his company, NantKwest which produces drugs for treating cancer, was listed in 2015. He is the owner of NantWorks — the umbrella company for NantHealth, NantKwest and other health startups.

The Los Angeles Times further reported that Tronc is expected to use the $500 million to pay its debts, go for acquisitions and also develop its digital strategy in the remaining news publications it owns. The other companies under Tronc are Chicago Tribune, Orlando Sentinel, South Florida Sun-Sentinel and Baltimore Sun.

Buying Los Angeles Times would be a major step for Soon-Shiong and would result in his profile being upgraded among civic, business and cultural groups. Tronc rejected Soon-Shiong’s offer to buy Los Angeles Times last year which resulted in a heated debate between Soon-Shiong and the chairman of Tronc, Michael Ferro.

Newspaper analyst at Huber Research Partners, Douglas Arthur, said, “This is surprising.”

“But it solves several issues by taking care of a disgruntled shareholder, Dr. Soon-Shiong, and also eliminating the Los Angeles Times, which has arguably been a problem child for this management group for years,” added Arthur.