The whispers started right away: Was Patrick Soon-Shiong, a Los Angeles billionaire-doctor-philanthropist-businessman, on the shortlist of potential buyers for entertainment giant AEG?
Soon after the company put itself on the block Tuesday, Soon-Shiong representative Chuck Kenworthy confirmed that the mogul “is keenly aware that AEG is in play” and is “interested.”
Here, a look into the life of the founder of Abraxis BioScience Inc. who, as of Wednesday, was the 47th-richest person in America and the wealthiest in Los Angeles.
- Soon-Shiong was raised in apartheid South Africa by his Chinese immigrant parents; his father fled China during World War II and practiced traditional Asian medicine. Soon-Shiong was a stellar student in medical school, becoming a doctor at age 23, but had to accept an internship at a major Johannesburg hospital at half the pay earned by his white counterparts.
- He completed his surgical training at UCLA and was a member of the medical school faculty by the age of 31, in 1983. Three years later, he performed the first pancreas transplant on the West Coast.
- Now, the boogie-boarding, basketball-playing 60-year-old makes his home in Los Angeles. He is married to Michele B. Chan, a television actress who had a recurring role in "MacGyver," among other productions. The couple have two children.
- Forbes currently pegs Soon-Shiong’s net worth at $7.3 billion. He built his fortune by taking American Pharmaceutical Partners public in 2001 and selling it for $5.6 billion in 2008. He spun off another company, Abraxis, in 2007, then sold it in 2010 for $2.9 billion, according to Forbes. His name graces more than 50 U.S. patents.
- Soon-Shiong regularly donates portions of his billions to philanthropic causes, including a $136-million donation to St. John’s Health Center in Santa Monica and a $100-million guarantee to underwrite efforts to reopen Martin Luther King Jr. Hospital.
- But he’s had his clashes, including a falling-out with his brother Terrence Soon-Shiong, who opposed him in a lawsuit over a diabetes research firm. Residents of the Brentwood neighborhood where Soon-Shiong has been buying and building for years have mixed feelings about his activities.
- Earlier this year, Soon-Shiong made a failed bid for the Dodgers. He had to console himself with his minority stake in the Lakers. He’s been seen at games rubbing shoulders with pop star Will.I.Am and Oscar-winning actor Denzel Washington. He’s said that he roots for USC in football but backs the UCLA basketball team.
- He now has his hands in supercomputing, augmented intelligence and other industries through his NantWorks company, which he founded in 2011. The year before, he helped launch the Healthcare Transformation Institute and currently heads the CSS Institute for Advanced Health, which focuses on human genotyping. He hopes to create a national healthcare information network and has taken over the National LambdaRail, the high-speed connector that links academic researchers nationwide.