Home / STOCKS / Cher claims she was duped to sell HIV drugs stocks in suit

Cher claims she was duped to sell HIV drugs stocks in suit

Cher (seen above in April) is suing a biotech billionaire for allegedly tricking her into selling shares of a drug company just before its stock value skyrocketed

Cher (seen above in April) is suing a biotech billionaire for allegedly tricking her into selling shares of a drug company just before its stock value skyrocketed

The singer Cher is suing a biopharmaceutical billionaire and others for allegedly tricking her into selling hundreds of thousands of shares of a drug company just before its stock value skyrocketed, it was reported on Friday.

The former Sonny and Cher star alleges in her lawsuit that mogul Patrick Soon-Shiong and executives at Altor, a Florida-based biopharmaceutical company, bought back her shares at $1.50 each for a total of $450,000 in January 2016.

Later that year, Soon-Shiong’s company NantCell acquired Altor for about $15million.

In the lawsuit filed by Cher, it is alleged that the company today is worth ‘over $1billion,’ according to the Los Angeles Times.

Cher claims that at the time she sold her shares, she was not told that a drug manufactured by Altor was showing promise in treating cancer and AIDS/HIVin clinical trials.

The former Sonny and Cher star alleges in her lawsuit that mogul Patrick Soon-Shiong (above) and executives at Altor, a Florida-based biopharmaceutical company, bought back her shares at a substantially low price without telling her about successful clinical trials of a new drug

The former Sonny and Cher star alleges in her lawsuit that mogul Patrick Soon-Shiong (above) and executives at Altor, a Florida-based biopharmaceutical company, bought back her shares at a substantially low price without telling her about successful clinical trials of a new drug

The former Sonny and Cher star alleges in her lawsuit that mogul Patrick Soon-Shiong (above) and executives at Altor, a Florida-based biopharmaceutical company, bought back her shares at a substantially low price without telling her about successful clinical trials of a new drug

Cher is not the only minority shareholder who is suing Soon-Shiong. Others who also claim to have been duped under similar circumstances have filed suit.

In July, two Washington, DC, attorneys – Boyden Gray and Adam Waldman – filed a lawsuit accusing Soon-Shiong of misleading shareholders by providing false data from the results of NantCell’s clinical trials of a drug used to treat pancreatic and colorectal illness, according to HealthcareIT News.

The suit also accuses of Soon-Shiong of attempting to bribe members of Altor’s board of directors with money to get them to approve the merger with his company.

The two board members – Altor co-founder Hing C. Wong and Fred Middleton – are also named as co-defendants in the lawsuit, which accuses them and Soon-Shiong of fraudulent concealment and breach of fiduciary duty.

The lawsuit alleges that the board members were willing to sell Altor to Soon-Shiong’s NantCell for an ‘outrageously low $290million,’ a purchase price which the plaintiffs claim is ‘inexplicably and substantially lower than the company’s last valuation ($309million) in December 2016.’

By pushing through a deal that allows NantCell to buy Altor at a significantly lower price, the minority shareholders of Altor end up losing money on the deal, according to the suit.

‘The lawsuit has no merit. We intend to vigorously defend against it,’ Soon-Shiong’s spokesman Michael Sitrick said in a statement.

Cher initially bought her stake in Altor in 2013, though the lawsuit does not say how much money she paid for her shares.  

It’s not all bad news for the veteran entertainer, as she announced this week that The Cher Show – a musical based on her prolific life and career – is Broadway-bound.

Fred Middleton

Fred Middleton

Hing C. Wong

Hing C. Wong

Cher is not the only minority stakeholder suing Altor. Two DC attorneys accused Soon-Shiong of attempting to bribe members of Altor’s board of directors – Fred Middleton (left) and Hing C. Wong (right) – with money to get them to approve the merger with his company

‘We have been discussing this musical for 10 years,’ she said in a statement, adding that ‘it’s exciting and scary’ that the project – which will feature as many as 40 songs from her prolific catalog – is coming to fruition.

Writer Rick Ellis, who is involved with the project, explained to The New York Times the groundbreaking nature of the musical, which he said will be ‘not linear,’ but ‘entirely psychological.

‘It takes place in her psychological closet,’ he said, ‘and in that closet is everything she’s ever been in her life.

‘Everything she has ever played, every song she’s sung, everyone she’s been married to, every pair of shoes she’s worn, every success and every failure.’

The show will make its initial opening in Chicago next summer before hitting The Great White Way in the fall. 

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