Top Stories

Michael Milken Rumors

The real Junk Bond King, who went to prison, was named Michael Milken. He did giant deals for redwoods. In real time, we were confused. It took a couple of decades to realize how misplaced the fight was between loggers and tree-sitting environmentalists. The real battle was everyone who depended on a swath of California, its water, oxygen, stability and economy versus a financing scheme designed to screw almost everyone. Now Milken a much-emulated investment god, and the nexus of many an NBA billionaire. Everyone from James Corden to Joe Dumars takes the stage at his annual conference. He got one of Trump’s first pardons. His most ardent acolytes are known, approximately, as the private equity industry. (That’s a joke, but not far off—you can draw a line from Milken to a shocking percentage of the industry’s biggest movers.)
And now the private equity industry is turning its attention to the NBA. After prison, Milken was barred from working in the investment industry, but not from investing. He is still very wealthy and does that many places, especially Guggenheim Partners where his influence is … big. Maybe too big? Bloomberg’s Matt Levine explains how Guggenheim Partners was investigated by the SEC and fined $20 million for something to do with “client A” who shares Milken’s transaction history and address.
Now Guggenheim owns a lot of the Lakers (and, with Magic Johnson, the Dodgers). A group of Milken’s closest colleagues started Apollo Global which is the NBA’s (and, for a decade, Jeffrey Epstein’s) biggest source of cash, with former executives at the helm of the 76ers and Hawks. Milken’s friends are all over the league, the Trump administration, and Wall Street. David Stern once thought it was important to keep gambling and private equity out of the league. Adam Silver has welcomed them both and … hope NBA fans, players, coaches, and staff fare better than the redwoods!