The Los Angeles Lakers on Monday said that part-owner Earvin “Magic” Johnson has sold his share of the team to Los Angeles billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong for an undisclosed amount.
Soon-Shiong, a medical doctor and biotech entrepreneur, is an avid Los Angeles Lakers fan. The Lakers did not say what percentage of the team Johnson owned, but some in the industry put it as high as 5 percent.
Forbes magazine last year valued the Lakers at $609 million, which would make Johnson’s stake worth roughly $30 million.
“It is an honor for me to be part of the Lakers family and the nation’s foremost basketball franchise,” said Soon-Shiong, who has been a Lakers season ticket holder for 25 years and has courtside seats.
A longtime NBA All Star who played his entire career with the Lakers before becoming a businessman, Johnson was rumored to be interested in buying a stake in the Detroit Pistons, who play close to his hometown of Lansing, Mich. To complete the deal, he would need to sell his interest in the Lakers, under NBA rules.
Johhnson did not comment directly on why he sold his stake, but in a prepared statement, acknowledged it was a difficult step.
“This was a bittersweet business decision made on behalf of my family and myself, and I want to assure all the wonderful and loyal Lakers fans that my decision will in no way affect my dedication and support for the Los Angeles Lakers,” Johnson said. “I am and will always be a Laker for life.”
Other minority owners of the team are Los Angeles real estate developer Ed Roski Jr. and Denver billionaire Philip Anschutz, whose AEG Los Angeles sports and entertainment company owns Staples Center.
Soon-Shiong was ranked in May by the Business Journal as the wealthiest resident of Los Angeles, with estimated net worth of $7.1 billion. Over the weekend, he closed the nearly $3 billion sale of his public company, Abraxis BioScience Inc., to Celgene Corp. The deal brought his estimated net worth to more than $7.5 billion.
Staff writer David Nusbaum contributed to this story.
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