L.A.-based Anschutz Entertainment Group, the downtown powerhouse behind Staples Center, L.A. Live, the proposed Farmers Field football stadium and the world's second-largest concert promoter, Live Nation, might be for sale.
What's it worth?
Who knows. But seeing how it got a $700 million naming-rights deal for Farmers Field alone, which could be built for $1.5 billion, maybe more, gives you a billion-dollar-plus indication.
Why now? We're shrugging our shoulders with puzzlement.
The stadium deal, which has yet to be approved by City Hall or the NFL, is in fast-track mode. You would think Anschutz, owned by Denver billionaire Philip Anschutz, would want to stick this one out, at least until the ink dries.
AEG has a slice of the Lakers and is also the parent of Goldenvoice, which promotes Coachella and other concerts.
Be worried, hipsters.
[Updated at 6 p.m.]: AEG confirmed the possible sale in a statement to the Weekly and other outlets. It says, in part:
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.
According to the Anschutz Company, it has hired the Blackstone Group, which was behind the recent $2 billion sale of the Dodgers, to help it find a buyer.
The statement lists these AEG assets:
*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 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.
Tim Leiweke, AEG's CEO, says:
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... 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.
[Update at 6:28 p.m.]: Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa says in a statement (via L.A. Observed) that he knew about the possible sale and believes it will not affect the stadium plans:
I have worked with both Philip Anschutz and Tim Leiweke for years to bring a football team to Los Angeles. 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.