was known as the "junk bond king"
as a result of making millions of dollars
from high-yield junk bonds. His financial
dealings were ultimately found to be illegal
and he was eventually banned from the
securities industry. After a bout with
cancer, Milken became a philanthropist
and dedicated much of his personal wealth
to fighting cancer.
Milken was born on July 4, 1946 in Encino,
California and excelled in school from
an early age. He attended Birmingham High
School and eventually studied mathematics
and business at the University of California
at Berkley. Milken graduated with a business
degree and high honors in 1968 and went
on to receive his master's degree from
the University of Pennsylvania Wharton
was during his time at the University
of California that Milken began studying
junk bonds and the failed rating system
that showed them as "high risk".
By analyzing the system and the risk factors
involved, Michael Milken realized that
there were good profits to be made if
he carefully weighed his options.
married his high school sweetheart, Lori
Hackel, in 1970, just before attending
graduate school. Once he received his
master's degree, Milken began working
with the Drexel Corporation, originallly
as an assistant but later as the head
of bond research. By 1973 Milken was the
head of the non-investment-grade bond-trading
department of the newly merged Drexel
and Burnham and Company. His work was
seen as remarkable, earning 100% return
then moved back to California where he
helped Drexel-Burnham fund corporate takeovers
using junk-bonds. It was during this time
that Milken made over $500 million with
his trades and acquisitions and made some
of the largest transactions of his career,
some of which were later found to be illegal.
In 1990, Milken was convicted of securities
fraud and insider trading, and was sentenced
to ten years of prison and multiple years
of community service.
years later, in 1993, Michael Milken was
released from prison and immediately went
back into business, this time in the entertainment
industry. He and Larry Ellison (the founder
of Oracle) started Knowledge Universe
that provided a variety of goods and services
to a diverse group of customers. Although
Milken was once again investigated and
fined for potential roles in trading,
Milken continued to work in his new career
as a co-founder of an educational company.
he is known for his corporate takeovers
and eventual conviction, Milken also donated
a lot of time and money to charities.
While he did some philanthropic work prior
to his conviction, Michael Milken is better
known for his charitable work following
his release. In 1995 Milken donated $5
million to a Jewish secondary school and
he eventually created a foundation to
help raise money for cancer research.
After being diagnosed with advanced prostate
cancer at the age of 46, Milken became
acutely aware of the lack of cancer knowledge
and research. Through treatment and therapy,
Milken's cancer eventually went into remission
but it did change his life. He wrote a
healthy-living cookbook with Beth Ginsberg
and has dedicated much of his time and
money to his foundation.
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