Cher has filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleging that Los Angeles billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong and others duped her into selling her shares in a promising cancer and AIDS drug company at a fraction of the stock’s value.

Cher in January 2016 sold her shares in a Florida-based biopharmaceutical company, Altor, at $1.50 each — for a total of $450,000 — which the suit described as “an unreasonably below-market price,” the Los Angeles Times reported Monday. 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 filed Friday contends that Altor now is worth “over $1 billion.”

According to the suit, 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 Times reported.

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, according to The Times. The suit asks for damages and attorney fees and costs.

“The lawsuit has no merit. We intend to vigorously defend against it,” Soon-Shiong’s spokesman Michael Sitrick said in a statement quoted by The Times. Soon-Shiong is a major stockholder of media company Tronc Inc., which owns the Los Angeles Times.

—City News Service

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.