Net Worth: $3.08 billion, up 2.3 percent
LAST YEAR: $3.01 billion (recalculated)
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. Had not previously calculated land holdings underneath Knowledge Schools sites, value of which became known this year, resulting in adjusted 2015 net worth.
THE BUZZ: Marquee investor in Santa Monica biopharmaceutical company Kite Pharma Inc., developer of cancer-fighting drugs. Also backed more than a dozen drugs receiving Food and Drug Administration approval in past few years. First Milken Institute Public Health Summit last March brought nearly 70 speakers to Washington, D.C. His Knowledge Universe sold off subsidiary Knowledge Schools in August to Swiss private equity firm for estimated $1.34 billion. It retained real estate holdings with estimated value of $930 million. Milken 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. Continues to pursue interests in philanthropy, education, and medical research. Chairman of Santa Monica economic think tank Milken Institute, which hosted 19th annual conference in Beverly Hills this month. Also leads Washington think tank FasterCures.
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