A flurry of news reports have claimed that Rupert Murdoch is looking to buy the beleaguered Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune from the Tribune Company.

The Times itself, along with Reuters, reported the news on Friday night.

Murdoch is about to split his News Corp. into two, with one company focusing on entertainment and cable news and the other on print media. Reuters wrote that his son James Murdoch went to Los Angeles twice this month to check out the California paper's books. The Times said that Murdoch has long been interested in buying it.

Both the Times and the Tribune have, to put it mildly, seen better days. The papers have suffered through repeated cutbacks and editorial turnover, precipitous falls in circulation and multiple scandals within the leadership of the overall Tribune company. Tribune eventually declared bankruptcy, from which it has yet to emerge.

Howerver, both papers are still the major news voices in their markets, and would bolster Murdoch's influence -- if not necessarily his bottom line -- in two major regions. If the plans were to come to fruition, they would complement Murdoch's Wall Street Journal, which he purchased in 2007.

Fishbowl LA noted that, in California at least, Murdoch will have competition from local investors who have also expressed interest in the Times. He will also have to find a way around FCC regulations which ban a company from owning a newspaper and television stations in the same market. News Corp. has stations in both Chicago and Los Angeles.

UPDATE (Saturday, Oct. 20 -- 5:40 p.m.) -- News Corp. said on Saturday that reports of discussions with Tribune Company or the Los Angeles Times are "wholly inaccurate," Reuters reports.

Also on HuffPost:

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    Total Average Circulation: 230,739 <a href="http://accessabc.wordpress.com/2012/05/01/the-top-u-s-newspapers-for-march-2012/" target="_hplink">Source: Audit Bureau of Circulations</a>

  • #24: San Diego Union-Tribune

    Total Average Circulation: 230,742

  • #23: Seattle Times

    Total Average Circulation: 236,929

  • #22: Cleveland Plain Dealer

    Total Average Circulation: 246,571

  • #21: Oregonian

    Total Average Circulation: 247,833

  • #20: Newark Star-Ledger

    Total Average Circulation: 278,940

  • #19: Orange County Register

    Total Average Circulation: 280,812

  • #18: St. Petersburg Times (now Tampa Bay Times)

    Total Average Circulation: 299,497

  • #17: Minneapolis Star-Tribune

    Total Average Circulation: 300,330

  • #16: Phoenix Republic

    Total Average Circulation: 321,600

  • #15: Philadelphia Inquirer

    Total Average Circulation: 325,291

  • #14: Houston Chronicle

    Total Average Circulation: 384,007

  • #13: Newsday

    Total Average Circulation: 397,973

  • #12: Denver Post

    Total Average Circulation: 401,120

  • #11: Dallas Morning News

    Total Average Circulation: 405,349

  • #10: Chicago Tribune

    Total Average Circulation: 414,590

  • #9: Chicago Sun-Times

    Total Average Circulation: 422,335

  • #8: Washington Post

    Total Average Circulation: 507,615

  • #7: New York Post

    Total Average Circulation: 555,327

  • #6: San Jose Mercury News

    Total Average Circulation: 575,786

  • #5: New York Daily News

    Total Average Circulation: 579,636

  • #4: Los Angeles Times

    Total Average Circulation: 616,575

  • #3: New York Times

    Total Average Circulation: 1,586,757

  • #2: USA Today

    Total Average Circulation: 1,817,446

  • #1: Wall Street Journal

    Total Average Circulation: 2,118,315