Buyer revealed: USC mansion sold to Chinese billionaire

Buyer revealed: USC mansion sold to Chinese billionaire

Tianqiao Chen with the San Marino estate (Compass, WikiMedia / Comms88) Billionaire tech entrepreneur Tianqiao Chen was the buyer in the record-breaking sale of the University of Southern California’s presidential mansion.

The $25 million deal for the Seeley Mudd Estate in San Marino closed earlier this month. The Los Angeles Times first reported the sale without a buyer. has now identified Chen, who made his fortune in online gaming and investments. It was the priciest sale ever recorded in the area.

The 13,000-square-foot mansion was built in 1934, and served as the school president’s residence since 1979. USC listed the 7-acre property in February as it faced a cash crunch from the pandemic and $1 billion in sexual abuse settlement payments. Last week, the school also listed a Frank Lloyd Wright-designed property it owns in the Hollywood Hills.

Chen grew up near Shanghai and founded Shanda Interactive Entertainment in 1999. The company grew into a behemoth — in 2004 it became the first Chinese gaming company to list on the Nasdaq — and Chen relocated to California.

The Seeley Mudd Estate isn’t Chen’s only high-profile property purchase. In 2018, he reportedly paid $39 million for the Vanderbilt Mansion in Manhattan’s Upper East Side.

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