Milken looking for rich friends

Here's a little regulatory filing worth noting: Michael Milken wants to sell $1 billion worth of his juggernaut of companies called Knowledge Universe. As reported by Bloomberg News, Milken has hired Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse to look for investors (he has commitments for half the offering, according to a spokesman). He's barred for life from any securities activities, but that hasn't stopped him from deftly manipulating a group of companies - largely with his money, and that of his brother Lowell and Oracle CEO Larry Ellison. Milken has made a career out of complicated investments and Santa Monica-based KU is no exception. Some of the companies are solely owned, some are partially owned (both majority and minority positions), some are public, some are private (almost reminds me of Barry Diller's crazy-quilt IAC/InterActive Corp.). From Bloomberg:

Milken is selling a stake in his business through a private placement of interests in Knowledge Universe Education LP, a partnership formed last April, according to a Jan. 29 filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The partnership offering had raised about $220 million as of Jan. 24 -- $154 million of that was slated to repay debt and another $49.4 was allocated for working capital. The filing didn't disclose the group's financial performance. Milken, who espoused the use of leverage, may deter investors because he's earmarking investor funds to repay debt, said Joshua Schwartz, a managing director at East Wind Advisors LLC, an investment bank that specializes in the education sector. ``No one who is an equity investor is going to get excited about refinancing debt,'' said Schwartz, a former investment banker at Bear Stearns Cos., who has worked with Milken.

As explained in a 2001 Forbes piece, Milken's focus is on "human capital." What's that you ask?

Unlike real assets, which are tangible, or social capital, which reflects political and regulatory climates, Milken believes that human capital has been the unsung, unmeasured, untapped component of prosperity. But to produce human capital, you must have access to knowledge. So, what is human capital? The concept is the brainchild of Milken's friend, Nobel Prize-winning economist Gary Becker. According to Becker, human capital is purportedly the value an individual adds to society based on the kind and amount of particularly useful knowledge he or she possesses; the more useful knowledge any person has, the more value he or she adds. Milken claims an employee should add anywhere from $500,000 to $5 million to the value of a company's total assets-value not currently or accurately reflected on any corporate balance sheet.

More by Mark Lacter:
American-US Air settlement with DOJ includes small tweak at LAX
Socal housing market going nowhere fast
Amazon keeps pushing for faster L.A. delivery
Another rugged quarter for Tribune Co. papers
How does Stanford compete with the big boys?
Those awful infographics that promise to explain and only distort
Best to low-ball today's employment report
Further fallout from airport shootings
Crazy opening for Twitter*
Should Twitter be valued at $18 billion?
Recent stories:
Siri versus Hawaiian pidgin (video)
Letter from Down Under: Welcome to the Homogenocene
One last Florida photo
Signs of Saturday: No refund
'I Am Woman,' hear them roar

New at LA Observed
On the Media Page
Go to Media

On the Politics Page
Go to Politics
Arts and culture

Sign up for daily email from LA Observed

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Mark Lacter
Mark Lacter created the LA Biz Observed blog in 2006. He posted until the day before his death on Nov. 13, 2013.
Mark Lacter, business writer and editor was 59
The multi-talented Mark Lacter
LA Observed on Twitter and Facebook