AEG Facilities-SMG Merger Sends Waves Through Venue Space
The pending merger between AEG Facilities and SMG to form ASM Global "represents a significant shift in the venue space, combining the two firms with the largest marketshare in one monolithic entity," according to Dave Brooks of BILLBOARD.com. The combined group now represents NFL stadiums, NBA arenas and convention centers "with new access to AEG's resources including its global touring unit." AEG now has "access to more than 300 facilities around the world through ASM, but what that looks like long-term is unclear." It is "likely there will be little, if any, change at any of the SMG buildings in the next six months to a year, but the long-term benefit of having a direct relationship with so many venues around the world presents a number of interesting opportunities for AEG." One Live Nation senior exec said that the company's top brass is "not planning any major opposition to the joint venture deal." It is also "unclear how regulators will approach the merger of the two largest venue operators." The deal "does not include" AEG-owned venues in Staples Center and L.A. Live, the 02 Arena in London or entertainment development in Berlin and Hamburg, Germany (BILLBOARD.com, 2/7).
MORE DETAILS: The new standalone company will be based in L.A. and have approximately 50,000 employees. AEG and Onex, SMG’s parent company, each will have a 50% stake in ASM Global. The merger is expected to be completed later this year. AEG Facilities President Bob Newman said SMG is bringing approximately 240 venues it manages worldwide to the merger; AEG oversees 70 facilities. Newman will also become ASM President & CEO. He previously worked at SMG as a regional VP. SMG President & CEO Wes Westley will take a spot on the new company’s BOD after the merger (Mike Sunnucks, THE DAILY). In Philadelphia, Joseph DiStefano notes the moves mean Westley will "step back from day-to-day management." Onex Managing Dir Amir Motamedi credited Westley for making SMG the “gold standard” in the industry over his 25 years at the company. SMG was founded in '77 by late Flyers owner Ed Snider when his facilities group was "picked to run the Superdome" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 2/8).
END OF THE LONG ROAD: BILLBOARD's Brooks noted the merger "ends longstanding efforts to find a permanent home for SMG, which has traded hands between several private equity funds and had been an acquistion target of the Oak View Group." That sale was "blocked by Westley, and Live Nation reportedly kicked the tires on a possible acquisition but ultimately opted not to make the large investment in the real estate space" (BILLBOARD.com, 2/7).