Yesterday, when news arrived stating that a South African-born billionaire had acquired one the most widely-read newspapers in the US, many were asking, who is this Patrick Soon-Shiong?
Well, let’s take a look.
Soon-Shiong was born in 1952 in Port Elizabeth, to Chinese immigrant parents. Years later, after studying medicine at Wits, he popped over to Canada and from there, emigrated to the US.
Now, he has a current net worth of $7,8 billion (R94 billion) and is considered “America’s richest doctor” – a profile on him in the LA Times explains how he got there:
He joined the University of California – Los Angeles’s medical school – in 1983, after moving from Canada. He later left the university and founded his own medical research firm in the early 1990s, make his fortune in pharmaceuticals and health care.
Moving away from pharmaceuticals, Soon-Shiong has just bought the San Diego Union-Tribune and Los Angeles Times newspapers – the latter being one of the largest and most widely-read publications in the US – for $500m (R6 billion), reports Fin24:
In a media release on Wednesday Tronc, the newspaper’s previous owner, said it had reached an agreement to sell the Los Angeles Times, The San Diego Union-Tribune and various titles in the California News Group to Nant Capital, Soon-Shiong’s private investment vehicle.
The deal was concluded for $500m (R6bn) in cash plus the assumption of $90m (R1bn) in pension liabilities.
“We look forward to continuing the great tradition of award-winning journalism carried out by the reporters and editors of the Los Angeles Times, The San Diego Union-Tribune and the other California News Group titles,” said Soon-Shiong in a statement.
After the deal was concluded, the LA Times’ staff shared Soon-Shiong’s introductory letter on social media, and it might just make you cry:
“My own family immigrated from southern China to South Africa generations ago. We chose to settle in Los Angeles because this is the place that felt most like home.
“Ultimately, the decision is deeply personal for me. As someone who grew up in apartheid South Africa, I understand the role that journalism needs to play in a free society.”
Soon-Shiong assured the journalists that he would “work to ensure that you have the tools and resources to produce the high-quality journalism that our readers need and rely upon”.
Before you go, HuffPost detailed a few other curious facts about the sometimes controversial doctor, including why he was sued by Cher:
And now you know.
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