SBD/October 3, 2012/Facilities

Guggenheim CEO Confirms Group Is Exploring AEG Bid; No Ties Yet With Soon-Shiong

Report of Soon-Shiong (l) teaming with Guggenheim in AEG bid called “overstated”
Guggenheim Partners CEO and Dodgers Chair Mark Walter yesterday said that his company is “exploring whether to bid” on AEG, according to Bill Shaikin of the L.A. TIMES. Walter said that the “possible ‘synergy’ in marketing and sponsorship among the Los Angeles teams could make AEG an attractive investment.” But Walter said that he “could not say for sure that a bid would make sense for Guggenheim” since prospective bidders “have yet to receive confidential financial information from AEG.” He said it is “not true” that Guggenheim has partnered with anyone on a bid. A report last week claimed that Guggenheim had “joined forces” with Lakers investor Patrick Soon-Shiong (LATIMES.com, 10/2). Walter said, "In our business, when you make investments, you look at things. Lots of things. You have no idea how many things we look at. We don't buy them all. That's just what we do." He said that the report of Guggenheim teaming with Soon-Shiong in a potential bid is “a bit overstated.” Walter: "We have talked to Patrick because we know he's interested. We just said, 'What are you doing? What are you thinking?’” (ESPNLA.com, 10/2). Meanwhile, SI.com’s Peter King wrote the “best point” AEG President & CEO Tim Leiweke made about the company’s proposed Farmers Field project “was about the area in Los Angeles where the stadium would be built.” His point is a “Super Bowl slam dunk.” If there is “something NFL owners understand, it's the power of synergy between pro football and the entertainment business, and having Los Angeles in the Super Bowl-site rotation” (SI.com, 10/2).

ROOM TO GROW: Walter said that the Dodgers franchise “still has the financial wherewithal to make significant acquisitions over the winter.” Walter: "If it's there and if it's right for us." He added that the Dodgers “wouldn't be careless with their money.” Walter said that while the luxury tax “will figure into the Dodgers' thinking at some point, that time hasn't come yet.” In L.A., Dylan Hernandez noted the Dodgers “added more than" $400M in player contracts this season, and the team's payroll is “projected to exceed" $200M next season." Any amount the club spends over $178M "would be taxed at 17.5%” (L.A. TIMES, 10/3).
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