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Volume 24 No. 157
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Phil Anschutz Discusses Decision To Take AEG Off Sale Market, Leiweke Departure

AEG Chair Phil Anschutz yesterday discussed "his decision to pull" the company off the market, as well as President & CEO Tim Leiweke's departure from the company with select media. The L.A. TIMES' Dickerson & James run a full interview, and the following are excerpts from the Q&A:

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).