NET WORTH: $2.32 billion, up 12 percent
LAST YEAR: $2.07 billion*
SOURCE OF WEALTH: Investments
THE MONEY: Former Wall Street financier benefitted from burgeoning biotechnology sector. Invests heavily in education, primarily through family-owned Knowledge Universe and K12 Inc. Reported to have had at least $800 million invested through Los Angeles Dodgers owner Guggenheim Partners.
BUZZ: Good year for Milken, as investments in education and biotech paid off. Marquee investor in Santa Monica biopharmaceutical company Kite Pharma Inc., developer of cancer-fighting drugs, whose share value rose 91 percent over last year. Invested in many other biotechs, and analysts expect huge gains from sector in coming years. Closely held Knowledge Universe sold two major assets in Asia in past year for significant returns; specific prices not disclosed. Dodged fraud allegations regarding 2011 sale of education technology company GlobalScholar after federal judge tossed $135 million claim this year. Not so lucky in past. Began career at Drexel Burnham Lambert in 1969, engineering issuance of high-yield bonds, better known as “junk bonds” – slang he hates – for noninvestment-grade companies. Indicted for securities fraud in 1989; pled guilty to six felony counts, served 22 months in prison and paid $200 million in fines. Today, continues to pursue interests in philanthropy, education and medical research. Chairman of Santa Monica economic think tank Milken Institute, which hosts conference in Los Angeles every year. Also leads Washington think tank FasterCures, focused on fighting all life-threatening diseases.
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