Sources: AEG Narrows Bidders To Three Groups; Deal Could Be Done By March
The "final three bidders" to purchase AEG are a group made up of Penguins co-Owner Ron Burkle, Lakers investor Patrick Soon-Shiong and Goldman Sachs; Guggenheim Partners; and ColonyCapital and Qatar Sovereign Fund, according to sources cited by Ray Waddell of BILLBOARD.com. A deal “could be done as soon as the end of March.” However, another source said that the bidders “have not partnered up and yet another round of bids is still to come, and no short-list exists yet.” AEG President & CEO Tim Leiweke “declined to mention who the serious bidders were, but did indicate that the field has narrowed.” Leiweke said, “We’re getting down to the final straws here. The kind of people and companies interested are very good, and they share our vision for the future of the company.” Leiweke "did not seem concerned about the long-term future of the company no matter what shape AEG takes under new ownership” (BILLBOARD.com, 1/31). The FINANCIAL TIMES’ Sender, Edgecliffe-Johnson & Gelles note ColonyCapital Founder, Chair & CEO Tom Barrack “has real estate and entertainment expertise and close ties to Qatar," having sold Ligue 1 club Paris Saint-Germain to Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund in '11 (FINANCIAL TIMES, 2/1). A source close to the negotiations said no partnerships have been approved by Blackstone Group, the investment bank handling the transaction. A second round of bids is expected in the coming week and after those proposals are received, Blackstone will allow bidders to team up for final presentations, the source said (Don Muret, SportsBusiness Journal).