Business & Real Estate

Five things to know about billionaire Ron Burkle, Sacramento’s soccer ‘whale’

Billionaire grocery tycoon Ron Burkle has purchased a controlling interest in Sacramento Republic FC. His involvement in the franchise may be the missing piece to the city finally landing an expansion spot in Major League Soccer.

So who is Burkle? Here are some key facts:

— Born Nov. 12, 1952. A grocer’s son, he’s made billions buying and selling supermarket chains. Forbes estimates his wealth at $2 billion.

— Teamed with hockey legend Mario Lemieux to buy the Pittsburgh Penguins of the National Hockey League out of bankruptcy in 1999.

— Has been producer or executive producer of 17 movies, including the 2016 sequel to the martial arts hit “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” and the 2014 Kevin Costner thriller “3 Days to Kill.”

— Tried to buy the Sacramento Kings, twice. First offer was rejected. Second offer was withdrawn because of a conflict of interest.

— Unsuccessfully bid for 12 newspapers auctioned off in 2006 by Sacramento-based McClatchy, owner of The Sacramento Bee.

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