Michael Milken
Billionaire Junk Bond King

By Florence Gaitho on March 31 2014

Michael Milken Net Worth: $2.5 Billion

Michael Milken is an American entrepreneur, financier and philanthropist. He is well known for his role in the advancement of the market for high-yield bonds (otherwise known as “Junk Bonds”. He serves as the Chairman of the Milken Institute, and is also the co-founder of the Milken Foundation, as well as the founder of the medical philanthropies funding research into cancer, melanoma and various other fatal ailments. Milken currently has an estimated net worth of $2.5 billion (as of March 2014), and has been ranked by Forbes as the 245th wealthiest person in the United States and the 687th wealthiest person in the world.

Milken was born on 4th July, 1976 in Encino, California to a middle-class Jewish family. He attended the University of California, Berkeley, where he graduated in 1968 with a B.S. with highest honors. He obtained his MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Soon after completing his MBA, Milken joined Drexel (which was by that time known as Drexel Firestone), and become the director of low-grade bond research. 

During the 1980s, critics referred to Milken as the epitome of Wall Street greed, nicknaming him the “Junk Bond King”.  He was convicted after he pleaded guilty of violating U.S. securities laws, and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. He was also fined $600 million, and was permanently barred from the securities industry. Due to his good behavior and cooperating with testimony against his former colleagues, his sentence was later reduced to 2 years.

Milken is also renowned for his philanthropic endeavors. Together with his brother Lowell, he founded the Milken Family Foundation that’s dedicated to supporting medical research and education. The foundation has awarded over $60 million to over 2,500 teachers. After his release from prison in 1993, Milken established the Prostate Cancer Foundation for prostate cancer research. By 2010, the foundation was considered to be the largest philanthropic source of funds for research into prostate cancer. In 2013, this active philanthropist established FastCures, a Washington, D.C-based think tank that seeks greater efficiency in researching all life-threatening ailments.

 In 2007, the Melanoma Research Alliance was launched to offer support to inventive translational studies that progress the diagnosis, staging and treatment of melanoma. In 2004, Milken was named “The man Who Changed Medicine” by Fortune Magazine. Through the Milken Family Foundation, Milken has contributed millions of dollars towards research and scholarships on public health issues. This 67-year old self-made billionaire is married to Lori Anne Hackel, with whom he has three children.

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