BREAKING NEWS

Soros Enters the Skin Trade

Jan. 30 2008, Published 8:04 a.m. ET

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Is billionaire philanthropist George Soros looking to sex up his portfolio? Fashion industry sources say the Soros Group is in late-stage negotiations with Katie Ford to purchase Ford Models, a prestige brand the Open Society founder feels can be expanded and exploited beyond its current confines.

Speculation about the deal has circulated for some time within the fashion world, but Ford, ex-wife of hotelier Andre Balazs, has remained tight-lipped about the sale—due in part to previous experience. In 2002, the modeling matriarch agreed to sell the agency her parents founded to Magnum Sports & Entertainment for $22 million, but the deal slipped away before the check was in hand.

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When the ink dries, we’re told the newly bachelorized Soros, 75—who bought his way out his 21-year marriage to Susan Weber Soros last year for a reported $80 million—will need to recruit some new hands to manage his stable of nubile babes: Ford Models director Neal Hamill has just quit his job to move home to Texas.

Reps for Soros and Ford Models declined repeated opportunities to comment.

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