It’s the beginning of the beginning of the auction process for billionaire Philip Anschutz’ live entertainment business. The company is circulating a 25-page information memorandum that describes the operations being offered but without financial data, Reuters reports. Those who sign non-disclosure agreements should be able to see more details, including confidential numbers, by the end of the month. Anschutz is thinking big: bidders will have to offer about $10B or more just to make it to a second round, the wire service says citing unnamed sources.
Anschutz was impressed by the recent $2.15B deal to sell the Los Angeles Dodgers to Guggenheim Partners. He hired the bankers who handled the arrangements for Frank McCourt — Blackstone Advisory Group — to also manage the AEG auction which includes stakes in sports teams including the Los Angeles Lakers and the Kings, as well as real estate holdings. Guggenheim Partners and billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong are said to be interested. Others who are expected to at least kick the tires include Jim Dolan’s MSG, News Corp, and Liberty Media’s Chairman John Malone. Private equity firms may be curious, but likely won’t follow through. They like deals that are easy to enter, and exit — and AEG would fail on both counts. The AEG sale arrangements could be so complicated that we’ll probably have to wait until we’re well into 2013 before we’ll know how things will play out.