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Anschutz shops entertainment empire

by Lou Whiteman  |  Published September 19, 2012 at 10:56 AM
Anschutz Co. on Wednesday confirmed it has put its sprawling sports and entertainment unit on the block, setting up an auction that could fetch more than $2 billion for the seller.

The company said it has retained Blackstone Advisory Partners LP to help shop Anschutz Entertainment Group, which owns hockey's Los Angeles Kings, soccer's L.A. Galaxy and a stake in basketball's Los Angeles Lakers along with some 100 entertainment venues worldwide. It is unclear whether the entire business would be put on the block, or just select assets.

Denver-based Anschutz Co., which is owned by billionaire dealmaker Phillip Anschutz, said the time was right to solicit interest in the business.

"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 president Cannon Y. Harvey said in a statement.

Among the reported potential buyers for the assets are News Corp., a former owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and John Malone's Liberty Media Corp. Guggenheim Partners, which earlier this year through an affiliate bought the Dodgers out of bankruptcy for $2 billion, was also mentioned in reports as a potential buyer.

Patrick Soon-Shiong, a Los Angeles-area businessman and doctor, is another potential bidder. Soon-Shiong owns a small stake in the Lakers and was a bidder for the Dodgers.

In addition to the sports teams AEG's assets include the Staples Center and Nokia Theater in Los Angeles, the O2 in London, the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn and arenas spread from Shanghai to Berlin. It also owns a unit that produces tours and festivals including Coachella Music & Arts and New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.

The company is also attempting to develop a new stadium in Los Angeles designed to attract the return of the National Football League to the city.

Though Anschutz is best known as a sports and entertainment entrepreneur, the company also has interests in the energy, telecommunications and transportation industries.

Tags: Anschutz Co. | Anschutz Entertainment Group | Barclays Center | Blackstone Advisory Partners LP | Cannon Y. Harvey | Coachella Music & Arts | Guggenheim Partners | John Malone | L.A. Galaxy | Liberty Media Corp. | Los Angeles Kings | Los Angeles Lakers | New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival | News Corp. | Nokia Theater | O2 | Patrick Soon-Shiong | Phillip Anschutz | Staples Center

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