Los Angeles Billionaire Is Close to D.C. United Deal

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Billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong is close to a deal to invest in Major League Soccer’s D.C. United, an agreement that would value the club at a league-record $500 million, according to a person with knowledge of the negotiations.

Soon-Shiong and team Chief Executive Officer Jason Levien are buying the stake held by Erick Thohir, according to the person, who asked to be anonymous because the talks aren’t public.

Patrick Soon-Shiong

Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg

Levien, who also owns a piece of English Premier League team Swansea City, declined to comment. Soon-Shiong wasn’t available for immediate comment. In a statement, the team said it’s evaluating strategic ownership opportunities.

The deal should be done by the end of the month and would make Soon-Shiong the biggest stakeholder in the storied MLS team. Levien, who would also increase his stake, will remain managing general partner and CEO. The pair may seek additional investors in the future.

Soon-Shiong, who has a net worth of $8.2 billion, recently bought the Los Angeles Times and the San Diego Tribune from tronc Inc. for $500 million. He also owns a share of the Los Angeles Lakers.

In July, United will open Audi Field, the club’s new stadium and the centerpiece of a $350 million development project. According to Forbes’s 2017 list of MLS franchise valuations, United is worth $230 million, 11th in the 20-team league.

Started in 1996 and once owned by philanthropist George Soros, D.C. United has won four league championships. Only the Los Angeles Galaxy has won more titles.

Thohir has been D.C. United’s general partner since 2012.

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