AEG being put up for sale

Updated: September 19, 2012, 12:33 PM ET
By Arash Markazi | ESPNLosAngeles.com

LOS ANGELES -- The Anschutz Entertainment Group, which owns the Los Angeles Kings, Los Angeles Galaxy and Staples Center, is being put up for sale, the company announced Tuesday.

AEG is owned by the Anschutz Company, which is run by Denver billionaire Philip Anschutz. AEG's ownership interests include the Kings, which recently won the Stanley Cup; the Galaxy, which recently won the MLS Cup; and a portion of the Los Angeles Lakers. AEG also owns and operates the Staples Center, which is home to the Kings, Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Sparks, as well as the Home Depot Center, which is home to the Galaxy and Chivas USA of Major League Soccer.

In a statement, the Anschutz Company announced it would undertake the sale to "the qualified party best able to reflect the full value of AEG and fully committed to working with AEG's management team as it pursues its long-term business objectives." A sale of the whole company to one buyer is AEG's focus, according to a source within the company.

"Given the success of the management team and employees in establishing AEG as one of the premier real estate development, live sports and entertainment platforms in the world, as well as the value AEG has created with the strategic assets that comprise its platform, this is an appropriate time to transition AEG to a new qualified owner," said Cannon Y. Harvey, president of the Anschutz Company. "This process represents a unique opportunity to maximize value for all concerned and will allow us to assure that, like the Anschutz Company, the new owner will have the financial resources, commitment and vision to support AEG's management team as it continues to grow the businesses of AEG and the power of its brands.

"We will conduct this process in a manner that avoids disruption of the day-to-day operations of AEG and its constituencies. The Anschutz Company has the highest confidence in AEG's potential and its management, and will only undertake a transaction that reflects this confidence."

To assist the Anschutz Company and AEG in the sale process, the Anschutz Company has retained as financial advisors Blackstone Advisory Partners, which recently managed the auction of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

"As we look to the future, we will capitalize on our integrated business model to further grow AEG in key cities around the world," said Tim Leiweke, president and CEO of AEG. "Our sports properties and teams are only beginning to take advantage of international expansion."

AEG also was behind Farmers Field, a proposed $1.5 billion football stadium in downtown Los Angeles, which was in the final stages of being cleared for construction subject to the company attracting an NFL team back to the city.

In a statement, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said AEG's sale will not affect plans for an NFL team to return to the city.

"I have worked with both Philip Anschutz and Tim Leiweke for years to bring a football team to Los Angeles," Villaraigosa said. "I speak to both of them on a regular basis and I have known about this potential sale for some time. I have the commitment from both of them that this sale will not affect plans for an NFL team to return to Los Angeles in the near future and will not affect my support for moving ahead with Farmers Field and the Convention Center site."

Leiweke mentioned the prospect of an NFL team in a statement, saying, "The new owner will have the historic opportunity to benefit from AEG's strategy to reunite Los Angeles with the NFL, as AEG moves forward with its efforts to bring an NFL franchise to Farmers Field to be built at L.A. Live."

Councilwoman Jan Perry, whose district includes the proposed stadium site, said she did not know about a pending sale but said that it wouldn't have adverse effects on courting an NFL team.

"The city has done a good job of protecting the taxpayer's interest in negotiating an agreement," Perry told The Associated Press, "so whoever steps into the shoes of Mr. Anschutz will have the same obligations."

Perry said the move "arguably is very positive" because she suspected it could lead to an enthusiastic new partner anxious to get in on the city's NFL prospects.

AEG's assets also include L.A. Live, a 27-acre sports and entertainment district in downtown Los Angeles anchored by the Staples Center and Nokia Theater, which regularly hosts the X Games, ESPYS, MTV Video Music Awards, Grammys and movie premieres. AEG also owns The O2 arena in London, which was used during the 2012 Summer Olympics.

Additionally, AEG owns and operates a network of more than 100 arenas, stadiums and clubs in countries on five continents. The company also includes AEG Live, which produces music tours, festivals and special events, including the Coachella Music & Arts Festival, Stagecoach and New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. AEG Live owns, operates or exclusively books 35 venues.

AEG transformed the city's landscape with the building of Staples Center and the addition of the LA Live entertainment complex, helping to revitalize a long-neglected downtown and bring energy and several championships to its sports teams.

Opened in 1999, the Staples Center is among the world's busiest arenas. It hosted six playoff games in four days for its main tenants -- the NBA's Lakers and Clippers, and the NHL's Kings, who won their first Stanley Cup in June.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Arash Markazi

ESPNLosAngeles.com

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