SBD/October 19, 2010/Franchises

Magic Johnson Sells 4.5% Lakers Share To Billionaire Doctor

Sources Say Johnson's Sale Of Lakers Share Not Done To Buy Other Team

Basketball HOFer and Lakers investor Magic Johnson has sold his share of the team to Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong for an undisclosed price. Soon-Shiong, a Lakers season-ticket holder for more than 25 years, is a UCLA professor who also serves as UCLA Wireless Health Institute Exec Dir and Chan Soon-Shiong Family Foundation Chair (Lakers). In L.A., Mike Bresnahan notes Soon-Shiong is a surgeon and biotech investor who "ranked No. 46 among the nation's wealthiest people by Forbes magazine this year" with an estimated worth of $5.6B. Johnson had a 4.5% ownership stake in the franchise. The Lakers are "worth about $600 million, and Johnson's stake had an estimated value" of $27M. But a Lakers source said the sale amount was "a lot more" than $27M, and added Johnson was "made an offer that he couldn't refuse." Meanwhile, sources close to Johnson "quickly quelled any connection between selling his share of the Lakers and aggressively pursuing ownership of another NBA team." Johnson in the last year "has been rumored to be interested in buying" the Warriors and Pistons, but he will "keep his title of vice president and continue to consult with General Manager Mitch Kupchak as needed" (L.A. TIMES, 10/19).

COULDN'T SAY NO: Johnson, who bought the 4.5% stake in '94 for a reported $10M, said, "This was a bittersweet business decision made on behalf of my family and myself." Johnson's agent Lon Rosen: "This really was just a smart business decision." Soon-Shiong "has played a primary role in cutting-edge treatments for a wide variety of cancers" (ESPN.com, 10/18).

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