AEG Comes Off The Block

AEG World Logo

(from Billboard Magazine, April 30, 2013) In September 2012, Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) was put up for sale with a price of $8 billion. AEG is the global sports, and entertainment, and venue conglomerate that is owned by Denver billionaire, Philip Anschutz. Philip has a portfolio of live venues on five different continents, including the Staples Center in Los Angeles and the O2 in London, a global concert promoter in AEG Live, and growing ancillary divisions in ticketing, merchandising and sponsorships. After many offers for the ownership of AEG, on March 14 Anschutz announced that he would keep ownership, since no offer was the right one for him.

There was a lot of interest in AEG from a lot of different investors who wanted to take over the company. The top three bidders in January were a group that consisted of Ron Burkle, Patrick Soon-Shiong, and Goldman Sachs, Guggenheim Partners who own assets in Billboard owner Prometheus Global Media, and Colony Capital and Qatar Sovereign Fund. Sources say that Qatar group offered the highest bid at $7 billion and Guggenheim offered around $5 billion. Most observers do not understand why these offers weren’t good enough since it was right below the asking price. Observers also question the fact that Live Nation is only worth $2.5 billion and the Los Angeles Lakers are worth $5 billion. So why is Anschutz asking for so much when the other leading companies are still worth less than his offers for AEG. Anschutz, who is now 73, said that he will have a more active role in the company since he did not sell the company. Since the company has been through a lot of changes, they will rely on the new COO, Jay Marciano, who is a former CEO/President for Madison Square Garden Entertainment. Even though the company did not get sold, Anschutz has high hopes for the future of the company and realized if investors didn’t think the company was worth $8 billion, then he would just keep it himself.