The Anschutz Company is considering selling sports and entertainment company Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG), the Wall Street Journal reported late on Tuesday, citing people familiar with the matter. A news release was later sent confirming that the Anschutz Company is commencing a process to sell AEG.
Denver billionaire Philip Anschutz has privately held AEG on the block for $7 billion, sources tell Billboard.biz. The massive sports and entertainment firm has "multiple suitors." Anschutz Company has retained as financial advisors Blackstone Advisory Partners, which recently managed the auction of the Los Angeles Dodgers, according to the news release.
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AEG's assets include more than 100 arenas, stadiums and clubs in countries on five continents, including such powerhouse facilities as the Staples Center in Los Angeles and the O2 Arena in London. AEG Live, AEG's concert promotion division, produces numerous global treks and such festivals as Coachella, Stagecoach and the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. AEG Live is second only to Live Nation in the concert promotions business, having grossed nearly $798 million in 2011.
Additionally, AEG has an ownership interest in such sports franchises as Los Angeles Kings hockey team, the Los Angeles Lakers basketball team and the L.A. Galaxy soccer team.
"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," Anschutz Company president Cannon Y. Harvey said in a statement.
"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," Harvey continued. "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/CEO of AEG, added, "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," Leiweke added. "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."
Keep checking back to Billboard.biz for more information on this developing story.