(AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)
(AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

PROFILE: Meet the SA-born billionaire that just bought the LA Times

By Staff reporter Time of article published Jun 19, 2018

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CAPE TOWN - Patrick Soon-Shiong, a South African born billionaire has officially purchased the LA Times for $500 million ( R6.8 billion).

Soon-Shiong has promised to rebuild The Times and to bring stability to a newsroom.

The SA native will become executive chairman of the California News Group and plans to relocate most of the 800 employees to El Segundo by the end of July. 

He is so dedicated that since March, he has taken a crash course in media with the help of high-profile news professionals such as:

Norman Pearlstine, a former top editor and business executive at Time Inc as an advisor to help with the transition. 

Dean Baquet, executive editor of the New York Times (and former top editor at the Los Angeles Times); 

Marty Baron, executive editor of the Washington Post (another Times alum); 

Donald Graham, former owner of the Post;

Washington columnist Al Hunt;

former Times publisher Tom Johnson; and

Judy Woodruff, anchor of the PBS NewsHour.

Facts on Patrick Soon-Shiong: 

1. He was in born July 29, 1952, in Port Elizabeth. His parents are Chinese immigrant and fled from China during the Japanese occupation in World War II.

2. He is also a surgeon, entrepreneur, and philanthropist.

3. At the age of 23, he got his bachelor's degree in medicine (MBBCh)  from the University of Witwatersrand and He completed his medical internship at Johannesburg's General Hospital.

4. In 1973, he then studied at the University of British Columbia, where he earned a master's degree. 

5. In 1977, Patrick married his wife Michele Chen and moved to Canada, where he worked as a surgical resident at Vancouver’s main hospital 

6. In 1984, he moved to the United States and began surgical training at University of California, he would later became a board-certified surgeon. 

7. Soon-Shiong performed the first whole-pancreas transplant done at UCLA and developed the first performed experimental Type 1 diabetes-treatment known as an encapsulated-human-islet transplant. 

8. In 1991, Soon-Shiong left UCLA to start a diabetes and cancer biotechnology firm.

9. He has been on a mission to personaliae cancer treatment and develop vaccinations for deadly diseases.

10. He owns NantWorks, a network of health startups, and has stakes in media firm tronc and the Los Angeles Lakers.

11.  His biotech startup, NantHealth, went public in 2016; his cancer drug maker, NantKwest, listed in 2015.

12. He has 5 partner investments and 6 personal investments. 

13. Soon-Shiong, founded Abraxis BioScience, the maker of the drug Abraxane and he sold the sompany to Celgene in 2010. 

14.  In January 2013, he founded another biotech company, NantOmics, to develop cancer drugs based on protein kinase inhibitors.

15. According to Forbes, he has an estimated net wealth of  $7.5 billion.


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