SBD/January 24, 2011/Franchises

AEG's Tim Leiweke Denies Reports That NHL Kings Are For Sale

Tim Leiweke says AEG is neither in talks nor looking to sell the Kings
AEG President & CEO Tim Leiweke on Friday said that the NHL Kings have "not been put up for sale," despite rumors to the contrary, according to Helene Elliott of the L.A. TIMES. Leiweke in an e-mail said, "We get calls all the time. We are neither looking at (nor) in talks to sell. Very focused on the NFL." A Forbes report in December cited sources as saying AEG Chair Phil Anschutz was "shopping the Kings around." On Friday, website L.A. Observed "mentioned a report by the research firm Mergermarket that said the Kings are for sale." Elliott cited a source as saying that "he believed Anschutz is willing to sell the Kings but prospective buyers have also wanted a stake in Staples Center and Anschutz is not willing to have less than full ownership of the arena" (L.A. TIMES, 1/22). L.A. OBSERVED's Mark Lacter on Friday cited the Mergermarket report as claiming that the "offering price is around $350 million." If AEG were to be shopping the Kings, it is "bound to raise questions about a connection" with its efforts to build a downtown football stadium (LAOBSERVED.com, 1/21).

EVERYONE'S A CRITIC: The NHL on Friday fined Kings GM Dean Lombardi $50,000 for suggesting that NHL Senior VP/Hockey Operations Mike Murphy was "motivated by an anti-Kings bias in validating a controversial goal scored against the team during its 2-0 loss" to the Coyotes on Thursday. After the loss, an "irate Lombardi suggested Murphy had a grudge against the Kings," referring to Murphy's "upholding a decision to nullify an apparent Kings goal at Ottawa and Murphy's failed pursuit of a front-office job with the Kings." Lombardi said, "When the guy in Toronto making the decisions on the goals, in Ottawa and the one tonight, wanted the GM's job in L.A. and was not happy about not getting it, you have to assume you are going to get those type of calls." NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman "took issue with Lombardi's disparagement of Murphy." Bettman in a statement said, "People can disagree with a call by an official on the ice or an official in the Situation Room in Toronto, but even in instances of the utmost frustration there is no justification for speaking as inappropriately and irresponsibly as Mr. Lombardi did" (L.A. TIMES, 1/22).
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Los Angeles Kings, AEG, Hockey, Franchises

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