Thursday, May 06, 2010

The Man Who Would Be Kingmaker

This really long profile piece about Haim Saban was fascinating on a lot of levels. The guy started with nothing and ended up here:
One afternoon in late October, Haim Saban, seated in his wood-panelled library, contemplated the results of a fourteen-month renovation of his estate. It consists of a main house and two smaller buildings—one for guests and entertaining, one for his wife’s parents. He lives in Beverly Park, a gated community above Beverly Hills that is popular among Hollywood celebrities and moguls for its security and its exclusivity.

It's not just a rags to riches story. The guy built an empire on cartoon music and residual rights and parlayed that into major political influence on Middle East policy generally and Israel specifically. He's a good friend of Bill Clinton and various other world leaders.

But even beyond the political realm, the profile is a case study in cuthroat capitalism. Those in his good graces sing his praises, but he stepped on a lot of people along the way. Including some who helped him build his empire. He's both a good and terrible man. I suppose that could be said for a lot of people who make billions.

[More posts daily at The Detroit News]

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