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Volume 10 No. 24
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AEG Put Up For Sale By Anschutz, Could Change Southern California Sports Landscape

AEG has been “put up for sale, a move that could reshape the face of sports ownership in Southern California,” according to Hamilton & Vincent of the L.A. TIMES. The Anschutz Co. announced that it is “seeking a buyer for its AEG subsidiary,” which “owns and manages a wide range of sports and entertainment properties,” including the L.A. Live complex, NHL Kings, MLS Galaxy, O2 arena in London, the O2 World Berlin. AEG, which also has a minority stake in the NBA Lakers, has been “negotiating to build a football stadium in downtown Los Angeles in the hopes of luring a professional team from another city.” Those plans are “expected to proceed.” A sale of AEG would “mark one of the biggest sports and entertainment deals on record.” Anschutz Co. President Cannon Harvey said that the process is “in an early stage and no bidders have been identified.” The company is “being advised by the Blackstone Group, the New York investment bank that represented Frank McCourt in his sale of the Dodgers.” A source said that “one potential bidder for some or all of AEG” is Lakers investor Patrick Soon-Shiong. Soon-Shiong “confirmed in a statement” Tuesday that he is “interested in pursuing a purchase of the company.” AEG officials said that they “would have to be part of any deal.” AEG President & CEO Tim Leiweke said that he and his management team “recently renewed their contracts, which would require any new owner to keep them on or buy them out” (L.A. TIMES, 9/19).

GERMANY WAITS: News that the Anschutz Co. wants to sell AEG generated an "unease feeling" among German Hockey League club Eisbären Berlin, according to Jörg Lubrich of BILD. AEG owns two hockey teams in Germany, Eisbären Berlin and Hamburg Freezers. Eisbären Berlin Managing Dir Peter Lee "tried to calm the situation," and said, "O2 World and Eisbären belong together. We provide the arena with about 30 events, our home games, every year. We are an important renter" (BILD, 9/19).

ALL OR NOTHING: Anschutz Co. execs Tuesday said that they “plan to invite bids from a range of potential buyers, including private-equity firms and global entertainment, leisure or real-estate companies, and expect to wrap up a sale some time next year.” Harvey said that the company “isn't considering selling AEG in pieces.” He said, “We’re focused on selling it whole.” The WALL STREET JOURNAL’s Smith & Das, who first reported Anschutz Co.’s decision to sell AEG, noted the leagues in which company-owned teams play “all would likely need to approve any new owner of AEG’s professional sports holdings” (, 9/18).

: In L.A., Dakota Smith wrote, “Despite the assurances from AEG, a sale could complicate plans to build a 72,000-seat stadium in downtown, since the buyer would have to agree to the city's terms over the project.” L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said he was aware “for some time” that AEG was going up for sale. Villaraigosa, in a statement, said that he “speaks regularly” with AEG Chair Phil Anschutz and Leiweke. Villaraigosa: “I have the commitment from both of them that this won't affect plans for an NFL team to return to Los Angeles in the near future. And so [it] will not affect my support for moving ahead with Farmers Field and the Convention Center site” (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 9/19). L.A. City Council member Jan Perry said, “The city has been well-negotiated and well-protected. I don't think this is a setback.” In California, Scott Reid noted the “reasons behind the decision to sell AEG were unclear” yesterday. What is “certain” is the price tag for AEG will “likely run well into billions of dollars” (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 9/19).’s Arash Markazi noted at some point in the near future, Leiweke will likely “come out and say the day-to-day operations of AEG will not change in the interim and the company remains committed to Farmers Field and bringing the NFL back to Los Angeles.” Markazi wrote, “Of course, that commitment is only as strong as the commitment of AEG's new owner. If that person is just as committed to the project as Leiweke is, it will continue; if he or she isn't, well, it will die as so many NFL stadium proposals in L.A. have over the past two decades” (, 9/18).

: In L.A., Vincent Bonsignore wrote, “I never got the feeling Anschutz truly felt the stadium proposal AEG president Tim Leiweke was pushing on him would ever get as far as it has.” Anschutz “kept telling Leiweke that he had his blessing, while never truly thinking Leiweke would navigate through all the political red tape and potholes in his way to actually get it to this point.” Now that Leiweke has “carried the ball to the goal line, maybe Anschutz isn't as ‘in’ as we thought as he's ready to hand it off to someone who is prepared to carry the ball into the end zone” (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 9/19). Also in L.A., T.J. Simers noted considering how NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has “brokered deals in the past,” it would not be a surprise if he has “already met and given his full blessings to Soon-Shiong.” If so, it “makes this mega AEG sale all about football and the construction of a new stadium in downtown Los Angeles.” Anschutz has “never really had an interest in football here.” The stadium has “always been Tim Leiweke's baby,” except for “one itty-bitty problem: He's never been the money guy.” The NFL has had “every chance" to go with Majestic Realty Chair Ed Roski's ready-to-build project in the City of Industry, "but obviously it has been waiting for the downtown project to take shape.” When Anschutz “finally agreed to go all in on the stadium, he took it upon himself to negotiate with other NFL owners without Leiweke's assistance” (L.A. TIMES, 9/19).

Two German Hockey League teams
Eisbären Berlin (DEL)
Hamburg Freezers (DEL)
49% ownership of Swedish football club Hammarby IF (Stockholm)
Brisbane Entertainment Centre (Australia)
Lanxess-Arena (Cologne, Germany)
Newcastle Entertainment Centre (Australia)
Ahoy Arena (Rotterdam, Netherlands)
Perth Arena* (Australia)
VTB Arena (Moscow, Russia)
Suncorp Stadium (Brisbane, Australia)
Dynamo Moscow Stadium* (Russia)
MasterCard Center (Beijing, China)
The Hydro (Glasgow, Scotland)
Wukesong Indoor Stadium (Beijing, China)**
Tele2 Arena* (Stockholm, Sweden)***
Mercedes- Benz Arena (Shanghai, China)
Ericsson Globe (Stockholm, Sweden)***
O2 Arena (London, England)
Annexet (Stockholm, Sweden)***
O2 World Berlin (Germany)
Soderstadion (Stockholm, Sweden)***
O2 World Hamburg (Germany)
Hovet (Stockholm, Sweden)***
Volksbank Arena (Hamburg, Germany)
Ülker Sports Arena (Istanbul, Turkey)

* Under construction or late stages of development
** Operating rights in a joint venture with the NBA
*** All five of Stockholm's primary sports venues are owned by the city and operated by AEG's Stockholm Globe Arenas subsidiary