Performer Cher filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court on Friday, alleging that Los Angeles billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong and others duped her into selling her shares in a promising drug company at a fraction of the stock’s value.
In January 2016, Cher sold her shares in a Florida-based biopharmaceutical company, Altor, at $1.50 (Dh5.51) each — for a total of $450,000 — which the suit described as “an unreasonably below-market price”. She sold her shares back to the company.
Soon-Shiong, through his firm NantCell, acquired the outstanding shares of Altor in 2016 for about $15 million. The suit contends that Altor now is worth “over $1 billion”.
The suit contends that when Cher was asked to sell her shares she was not told that compounds of an Altor drug were showing promise in treating cancer and AIDS/HIV in clinical trials. Other minority shareholders have separately sued over the deal.
The lawsuit alleges fraudulent concealment and breach of fiduciary duty. In addition to Soon-Shiong, defendants include Altor Acquisition LLC, Altor cofounder Hing C. Wong and Fred Middleton, a vice-chairman of Altor’s board. The suit asks for damages and attorney fees and costs.
Cher bought her stake in the company in 2013 through the Inshallah Trust, of which she is the trustee. The lawsuit did not say how much she paid for her minority stake in the company.
Soon-Shiong is a major stockholder of media company Tronc Inc., which owns the Los Angeles Times. His attorney was not available on Friday night. A spokesperson for his company did not immediately comment.