With owner Frank McCourt's April 30 deadline to sell the team rapidly approaching, and with potential suitors--like alleged con man, and L.A. Weekly cover boy, Josh Macciello--dropping like flies, bidding for the Dodgers is getting serious.
Hedge fund billionaire Steven Cohen gained a new asset in his bid to buy the ball team with the announcement today that South African-born, UCLA-educated surgeon and scientist Patrick Soon-Shiong (who also happens to be the richest man in Los Angeles) would join his cohort of investors.
Soon-Shiong has a net worth estimated at $7.2 billion, which he made from the sale of two pharmaceutical companies--American Pharmaceutical Partners and Abraxis BioScience--in 2008 and 2010, respectively.
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The news that Soon-Shiong will join Cohen could come as a blow to Magic Johnson. Observers of the deal had expected the doctor, who bought a minority share in the Lakers from the former basketball star last year, to join Johnson's bidding group.
Soon-Shiong will lend some local credibility to Cohen's bid, which has been criticized for being dominated by moneyed carpetbaggers from the Eastern seaboard.
Cohen, who grew up in Great Neck, New York and now resides in Connecticut, tried and failed to buy his hometown New York Mets last year. (He did purchase one of ten minority stakes that sold for $20 million a piece last month. That money was intended to shore up the team in anticipation of the $162 million settlement, reached today, that owners must pay the victims of Bernie Madoff's ponzi scheme.)
Soon-Shiong has reportedly met with Frank McCourt several times over the last few months to discuss the sale of the team. McCourt, who put the team up for sale in November, must sell the Dodgers by the end of April, per the terms of his divorce agreement.