The Brotherhood of Billionaires
David Geffen once sold SAC Capital's Steve Cohen a nine-figure painting and now backs him in a bid for the Dodgers.
There are all sorts of ties in Hollywood, and some of them have nothing to do with entertainment. Take David Geffen's Dec. 27 endorsement of Connecticut hedge-fund operator Steve Cohen's bid to buy the beleaguered Los Angeles Dodgers from Frank McCourt. The link between the entertainment mogul and the financial whiz has nothing to do with film, music or even sports; it's all about art. Cohen, whose personal worth is estimated at $4 billion to $9 billion, has spent more than $700 million on contemporary paintings and sculpture. Cohen's major art advisers are dealers and gallery owners William Acquavella and Larry Gagosian; the latter advises Geffen. And one of Cohen's prized acquisitions is an iconic Jackson Pollock drip painting, which he purchased from Geffen for $52 million. In 2006, he bought a pair of Geffen's Willem de Koonings: Police Gazette for $63.5 million and Woman III for $137.5 million. Despite the backing of Geffen and billionaire (and art lover) Eli Broad, Cohen comes with some Hollywood-style controversy. There was a lawsuit by his ex-wife, who accused him of insider trading. (It was dismissed in March.) And one of Cohen's managers was sued for allegedly forcing a male subordinate into taking female hormones and cross-dressing at the office. Cohen, whose bid includes superagent Arn Tellem (husband of CBS' Nancy Tellem), also faces stiff competition. Those willing to shell out the reported $1 billion the team could fetch include groups headed by former Dodgers owner Peter O'Malley, onetime Dodgers stars Orel Hershiser and Steve Garvey and Lakers Hall of Famer Magic Johnson. But if Cohen gets the team, expect to see Geffen and some spectacular art in the owners box.