As of tomorrow, Biotech billionaire Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong will be the owner of two of the most prominent media outlets in the world, the LA Times and San Diego Union-Tribune.
Soon-Shiong will spend a modest $500 million (modest in terms of his overall worth) to purchase the ownership of both publications. This will make Soon-Shiong the executive chairman of the California News Group. He immediately plans to relocate nearly 800 employees from downtown LA to the El Segundo offices.
Soon-Shiong is originally from South Africa and has an estimated worth of $7.5 billion. The former UCLA surgeon has built and sold two biopharmaceutical companies. He’s also heavily in the vaccine sector. In fact, later this year, Soon-Shiong intends to take a cancer vaccine company public.
The company, Nant, was approved by the FDA on June 3.
Speaking at the Jefferies healthcare investment conference in New York last week, Soon-Shiong described the vaccine cocktail as a personalized immunotherapy combining experimental natural killer cells, dendritic cells and T cell therapy with viral and yeast-based vectors—and, of course, the protein-bound chemotherapy Abraxane, which has formed much of Soon-Shiong’s success, being the subject of a $2.9 billion acquisition deal with Celgene in 2010.
The LA Times has largely been a dependable supporter of mandatory vaccines, which makes for a concerning future for a media outlet already considered to be progressively biased by most. Soon-Shiong’s Nant company being taken public was seemingly hidden from the public until after the LA Times sale was finalized.
Pharmaceutical companies are already one of the most heavily utilized ad campaigns in the media today, whether that is online publications or television. If you’ve ever watched Fox News or CNN or MSNBC, then you know all about a variety of illnesses that pharmaceutical companies are hoping you “speak to your Doctor about.”
Pharmaceutical companies, due to their advertising budgets, have always maintained a cozy influence with mainstream media. To think that one of their own executives is now going to control at least two major online publications is a bit discomforting to say the least.