By Ross Newhan
The bid by Connecticut based hedge fund billionaire Steven Cohen to buy the Dodgers has been enhanced by more billions.
Patrick Soon-Shiong, generally ranked as the richest man in Los Angeles, has joined the Cohen group. The development was first reported by Bill Shaikin on the L.A. Times web site Sunday afternoon and confirmed by this writer in e-mails from two people familiar with the sales process but not authorized to discuss it.
Soon-Shiong, 60, has been lingering in the background of the Dodger sale since the process began, and was rumored by people close to the situation to be leaning toward joining the group fronted by Magic Johnson and former baseball executive Stan Kasten.
It couldn't be ascertained what influenced Soon-Shiong, a doctor, biotech investor and respected community philanthropist, to join the Cohen group or what percentage he will own and/or what role he will play.
Forbes has estimated his net worth at $7.2 billion while estimating Cohen's at $8.3 billion. Cohen is known to have submitted a bid of $1.4 billion with $900 billion in cash, but is believed ready to make a final bid of close to $2 billion if necessary--without the need for financing.
The addition of Soon-Shiong gives the group two primary investors with an estimated net worth of $15.5 billion. Soon-Shiong also enhances the Cohen group's ties to Los Angeles, with long-time Los Angeles based attorney and player agent Arn Tellem expected to be the club president if the group prevails.