(Picture of Philip Anschutz and the LA Kings after the team won the Stanley Cup earlier this year)
There has been a lot of buzz lately in the media and entertainment sector about the sale of Anschutz Entertainment Group, or more commonly known as AEG. Now for all the sports fans out there, you are probably more familiar with this firm than you might think. AEG owns sports teams including the LA Kings, who just recently won their first Stanley Cup, the LA Galaxy, with star players Landon Donovan, Robbie Keane, and David Beckham, as well as part of the LA Lakers. In addition, AEG also owns the Staples Center in LA, the famous O2 Arena in London, as well as a number of other venues in various cities and countries. So the sale of this giant empire has attracted a lot of attention.
Currently, AEG is controlled by the 72-year-old billionaire Philip Anschutz from Denver. The company has hired Blackstone Group as their financial adviser on the deal and the President of AEG, Cannon Harvey, has announced that they are “focused on selling it whole”. This might be a disappointment to many buyers who are only interested in parts of the overall empire.
The company has also been planning bring the NFL to Los Angeles through building a new $1.2 billion stadium, Farmers Field, which is now awaiting for final approval from the city council. Once built, the company hopes that Farmers Field would be home to one, or possibly two NFL teams. AEG’s CEO Tim Leiweke said that the “new owner will have the historic opportunity to benefit from [this] strategy to reunited Los Angeles with the NFL”.
Many rumors of potential buyers have surfaced, including the Dolan family, which controls Madison Square Garden and the NY Knicks, along with Patrick Soon-Shiong, the biotech tycoon with a net worth of $7.3 billion, and Larry Ellison, Oracle’s CEO; both of these individuals were interested in the earlier bid for the LA Dodgers but were unable to succeed. Other interested corporations include Comcast, NBC, AXS cable channel, Liberty Media Corp, News Corp, and Live Nation, the largest concert promoter ahead of AEG in the US.
As this deal progresses, there will no doubt be extensive media coverage of the following stages and we'll keep you updated here at Finance Society as well.
~ Jennifer Zhang