UPDATE, WEDNESDAY AM: The company has put out a release confirming its intention to sell (posted below last night’s original story) and that it has hired Blackstone Advisory Partners — the firm that recently guided the sale of the Los Angeles Dodgers — to help it find a buyer. Anschutz Co ended its announcement with the carrot of all carrots, saying any 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”.
PREVIOUS, TUESDAY PM: Philip Anschutz‘s sprawling sports and entertainment unit Anschutz Entertainment Group — its website says it is made up of more than 50 divisions — has its hands in more than 100 global arenas and stadiums, numerous sports teams worldwide and is No. 2 in the world behind Live Nation in live concert promotions. In Southern California alone it has controlling stakes in downtown LA’s Staples Center and the adjacent LA Live complex, the Lakers and the Kings, the Coachella music festival, and Carson’s Home Depot Center and its soccer tenants the LA Galaxy and Chivas USA. It also is the driving force behind Farmers Field, the proposed downtown football venue that would draw at least one NFL franchise to the city. In addition it runs London’s massive O2 venue and was the company behind Michael Jackson’s 50-date concert tour that was halted after the singer’s death. The Wall Street Journal says the parent Anschutz Co is considering a sale of the division, citing sources, in a deal that could be worth several billion dollars. The paper says it’s early in the process and Anschutz, a reclusive Denver-based billionaire, may not go ahead with pursing a deal. The company has so many stakes in so many sports teams, each league would likely want to grant approval to a new owner, the WSJ says.
Most recently, AEG joined with Ryan Seacrest, Mark Cuban and CAA to turn Cuban’s HDNet cable network into AXS TV, a pop culture destination.
DENVER, CO and LOS ANGELES, CA – September 18, 2012 – The Anschutz Company and AEG, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Anschutz Company, today announced that the Anschutz Company is commencing a process to sell AEG. AEG is one of the most highly regarded worldwide live entertainment and sports platforms, anchored by a unique real estate model that has brought about a transformational effect on major cities throughout the world.
The Anschutz Company will 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. With this unique international platform, the new owner of AEG will be able to capitalize on the growing global demand and value of live sports and entertainment content linked to important real estate developments on a worldwide basis.
AEG’s exceptional network of strategically integrated real estate, sports and entertainment assets in key world markets has transformed the business model of live entertainment and sports – and positively impacted whole cities in the process. AEG delivers growth and profitability through its unique combination of venues, content, distribution and services, covering all aspects of production, including content development and ownership, talent management, promotion, ticketing, marketing, and distribution.
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.
Cannon Y. Harvey, President of the Anschutz Company, noted “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. 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.”
Tim Leiweke, President and Chief Executive Officer of AEG, stated, “AEG is a proven innovator in real estate, sports and live entertainment, and is at the forefront of shaping the dynamics of these industries. Live entertainment is the economic driver of the music industry, and fan participation and experience are the cornerstones of professional sports – our platform regularly brings fans, sponsors and world-class talent together to create unparalleled opportunities in both segments. AEG’s model drives significant value and growth across all of our assets by enhancing the overall experience for audiences, artists and teams, as well as bringing tangible benefits to our partners, ranging from sponsors to municipalities, across the globe. With the AEG platform, we are able to successfully undertake transformational projects that revolutionize markets by creating true entertainment destinations for consumers, while positively regenerating neighborhoods through projects such as L.A. LIVE in Los Angeles and The O2 in London.”
Among AEG’s world class assets are:
• Unparalleled real estate assets, including the L.A. LIVE campus anchored by the Staples Center and Nokia Theater in Los Angeles and The O2 in London, which strategically position AEG in the world’s most important cities for entertainment and music. Additionally, AEG owns and operates “must-play” venues in major entertainment hubs, welcoming over 42 million fans annually to a network of more than 100 arenas, stadiums and clubs in countries on five continents;
• AEG’s ownership interests in a number of the world’s most storied sports franchises and their related brands, including the 2012 Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings, the David Beckham-led L.A. Galaxy and the 16 times World Champion Los Angeles Lakers that deliver dedicated fan bases to sponsors and partners; and
• AEG Live, which produces top tours, festivals and special events, including the acclaimed Coachella Music & Arts Festival, Stagecoach and New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. AEG Live encompasses all aspects of live contemporary music performance, such as touring, festival, broadcast, merchandise and special events, and owns, operates or exclusively books 35 venues.
Mr. Leiweke emphasized, “Our properties form a virtuous circle of AEG’s leading content, distribution, retail and service businesses, which constantly reinforces the value proposition of our platform and uniquely positions us to execute new, world-class projects that no other company can imagine or attempt. As we look to the future, we will capitalize on our integrated business model to further grow AEG in key cities around the world. Our sports properties and teams are only beginning to take advantage of international expansion, and new growth vehicles such as AXS Ticketing, AXS TV and the real estate holdings associated with our venues have the potential to further accelerate our growth. And of course, 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.”