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SBD/March 15, 2013/Franchises
Phil Anschutz Discusses Decision To Take AEG Off Sale Market, Leiweke Departure
Published March 15, 2013
Q: Tim Leiweke was the public face of AEG in Los Angeles. It's a surprise to see him leaving so abruptly. What happened?
Anschutz: I think he made his decision based on the fact that I had terminated the process for the sale, combined with the opportunities that he's looking at elsewhere as well. So he's done what he's set out to do, I think.
Q: Why did you terminate the sale of AEG? A number of big names had been rumored to be interested. Did you not like the prices you were getting?
Anschutz: This became a very noisy process. Lots of people, lots of talking heads, lots of unnamed experts and lots of opinions. … It just got too noisy. I didn't like the process. Second thing: We were very clear from the start. Unless there was the right buyer, the right set of terms and the right price, we might not sell.
Q: You said you'll be taking a more active role in the company. Why?
Anschutz: All I've ever done in my life is work. I'm kind of excited about reengaging, to be perfectly clear with you.
Q: Does this make it more or less likely that L.A. will get a football team?
Anschutz: I think it makes it more likely. … The NFL is a player here, they're not just an observer. They've got to decide what they want to do. … We've spent $45 million. Written checks for $45 million, plus another $5 (million) to $10 million of indirects on this project. I'm not in the practice commonly of writing checks just for the fun of writing them. That's a lot of money to be spent on this project. You do that because you see a business opportunity. … Not only am I optimistic, but I'm willing to back it with considerable money to make it a reality (L.A. TIMES, 3/15).